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RE: Hominidae expanded!?
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of
> Ken Kinman
> 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.
Department of Geology Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland College Park Scholars
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: email@example.com
Fax (Geol): 301-314-9661 Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796