The primatological term hominid is easily confused with a number of very similar words:
Certain morphological characteristics are still used conventionally to support the idea that hominid should only denote humans and human ancestors, namely bipedalism (walking on two feet) and large brains. These points of departure between human beings and the other great apes are important, but according to genetically based taxonomic classification, are not enough to divide us into separate families. Genetics, rather than morphology, is more widely accepted as the critical standard. Many scientists, including anthropologists, use the term hominid to mean humans and their direct and near-direct bipedal ancestors.
In search of the first hominids: thanks to an astonishing series of fossil discoveries, researchers are at last glimpsing our earliest ape ancestors, back beyond 4 million years ago. The finds are shifting attention from the savanna to the woods--and changing ideas about what it means to be a hominid. (News Focus).
Feb 15, 2002; BECOMING HUMAN This special Focus section explores two crucial moments in human evolution, from the distant past to more recent...