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Temporal range: Miocene[1] to Recent
'Lucy', based on a female Australopithecus afarensis skeleton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorrhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Parvorder: Catarrhini
Superfamily: Hominoidea
Family: Hominidae [2]

The hominids are members of the biological family Hominidae (the great apes).

This includes humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.[2] "Great ape" is a common name rather than a taxonomic label and there are differences in usage. Sometimes it seems to exclude human beings ("humans and the great apes"); at other times it includes them ("humans and non-human great apes"). Homo sapiens is definitely a hominid, as judged by all modern reference works.

Hominids range in weight from 48 kg to 270 kg. Males are larger than females. Hominids are primates with no tails, robust bodies and well-developed forearms. Their thumbs (and big toes, except in humans) oppose the fingers, and form a grip. All digits have flattened nails.

At present, the Hominidae includes four genera and five species. Its nonhuman members are restricted to rain forests in equatorial Africa, Sumatra and Borneo. However, if fossil hominids are included, then all the Australopithecines and the genus Homo are included. Hominid fossils date from the Miocene and are known from Asia.[3]


Details of the classification are not universally agreed at present.


This classification seems to be outdated:


A more recent classification underlines the Australopithecines and humans as distinct from the rainforest apes. It has the support of two major reference works.[4][5]

Superfamily Hominoidea

Family Hylobatidae
Genus Hylobates
Family Hominidae
Subfamily Ponginae
Genus Pongo
Subfamily Gorillinae
Genus Gorilla
Subfamily Homininae
Tribe Panini
Genus Pan
Tribe Hominini
Subtribe Australopithecina
Genus Ardipithecus
Genus Australopithecus
Genus Kenyanthropus
Genus Sahelanthropus
Genus Orrorin
Genus Paranthropus
Subtribe Hominina
Genus Homo


  1. Begun D.R; Nargolwalla M.C. and Kordos L. (2012). European Miocene Hominids and the Origin of the African Ape and Human Clade. 21.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Groves C. 2005. Wilson D.E.; Reeder D.M. eds. Mammal species of the world. 3rd ed, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 181–184. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. [1]
  3. Hill, Andrew & Steven Ward 1988. Origin of the Hominidae: the record of African large hominoid evolution between 14 My and 4 My. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 31 (59): 49–83.[2]
  4. Larsen, Clark Spencer (ed) 2010. A companion to biological anthropology. Blackwell. Chapter 3 (Bernard A. Wood) Systematics, taxonomy & phylogenetics, 56–73. ISBN 978-1405189002
  5. Stanford, Craig; Allen, John S. & Anton, Susan C. 2011. Biological anthropology. Pearson. ISBN 978-0205150687