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RE: Hominidae expanded!?



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Ken Kinman
>
> Mike,
>       I haven't been following primate classification for a while, but I
> never thought the cladists would dump the gorilla and chimpanzees in
> Hominidae.  I thought maybe they would recognize separate families for
> gorilla and for chimps, but this really takes me by surprise.  I
> wonder when
> the Arizona Tree of Life adopted this?
>       Both Family Hominidae and the term hominids has obviously been
> expanded, and all references in the previous literature to hominids and
> pongids is going to be unnecessarily confusing.  Come to think of
> it, they
> will be confusing in all future literature as well, because most workers
> will continue to use Hominidae sensu stricto, and put gorillas
> and chimps in
> Pongidae (as has always been done).
>       How depressing.

Well, Linnaeus himself included chimps and ourangutans (in the same species)
in the genus _Homo_, so there is some pre-cladist precendance for this...

I'm somewhat up on higher primate systematics, so here is my understanding
of the situation:
Most authors have argued for two families within the great apes, Pongidae
and Hominidae.  As the evidence points strongly to _Pan_ and _Gorilla_ as
being closer to _Homo_ than to _Pongo_, keeping this taxa monophyletic AND
retaining only the traditional names requires Hominidae being used for all
the African great apes, including us.

Incidentally, in a recent paper in Compte Rendus (online at:
http://www.elsevier.fr/html/news/PXTE1529.PDF) it was proposed that
_Ardipithecus_ is an early member of the _Pan_ line, rather than the _Homo_
line.  This paper, incidentally, describes the "Millenium ancestor", which
has the formal name _Orrorin tugenensis_.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796