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Hominids as the Members of the Human Family Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 23rd, 2018

Evolutionary relations between species are the major concept that has a considerable influence on the organization of species (Cameron 5). Hominids are the members of human family that consists of numerous human ancestors and living apes.

More than 20 million years ago, the process of splitting took place; and people, who deal with the analyses of human fossil records, also known as paleoanthropologists, introduce Ramapithecus as hominids, the species with the characteristics of both humans and orangutans. In this paper, we will analyze the peculiar features of hominids, its types, and evolutions from the paleoanthropological perspective.

Hominids are the representatives of the biological family, who have been around our planet for about 7 million years, and orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and humans are considered to be its members; these species have different qualities, which are inherent to humans like upright position and to apes like the climbing ability, and which proves that in spite of numerous differences humans are so alike with the apes, their demands, and abilities.


Essence of the term. The term hominid is usually used to “describe the great apes, humans and their immediate ancestors only; i.e. it excluded gibbons and their immediate ancestors” (Cameron 5).

Not long time ago, this term characterized only humans and their immediate ancestors; however, the investigations of paleoanthropologists proved that humans were not the only one members of this family. In fact, this terminology seems to be a bit confusing, and unfortunately, it is true, because proper classification of hominids cannot be completely accepted in this field (Jurmain, Kilgore, and Trevathan 163).

Hominidae family already has a certain place in the scientific classification table, but the place of its members is still under a question. However, such genera like gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and humans have already occupied their places in this family, and their qualities and abilities prove that they are appropriate for this family.

Biological family. The scientists admit that hominids and humans in particular should be considered as the smartest biological family in this world, because they are able to use technology to improve their existence or invent things to facilitate life and job.

Another peculiarity of this family is the preference to live in groups: five or more hominids organize a separate group, where a male takes leading position and becomes responsible for the safety of the other members of the group, and a female has to care about future generation and to give birth to the other representatives of this family. If we look closer to hominids’ habits and demands, it becomes clear that our habits are usually the same.

Types of hominids. The fossil record demonstrates how slowly but confidently the evolution and extension of hominids took place:

Hominoids Years (ml)
Dryopiths 31-10
Australopithecis 4-2
Homo Erectus 1.6-0.3
Neanderthalensis 0.075 – 0.035
Homo Sapience 0.035-present

As it has been already mentioned, there are four possible representatives of the hominid group. The first representatives, gorillas, inhabit the tropical or subtropical forests of Africa.

As a rule, all gorillas have the same type of blood (B) and five individual fingers like it is inherent to another group of this family, humans. Hominid actually means “human-like”, this is why the last two members of this family, chimpanzees and orangutan, also have many things in common with humans.

he weight of hominids varies from 30 to 150 kilograms; and as it is inherent to humans, the vast majority of males has stronger stature that allows to defend females and provide them with a chance of feeling safe. Such a close connection to humans, their abilities, and appearance has a considerable reflection in hominids style of life and their intercommunication.

Life of hominids. The style of life, chosen by hominids, is so alike to our parents or grand-parents lives. First of all, the main purpose of their existence is to create a separate family or simply a group, to support each other, and to be able for reproduction. One of the most interesting points concerning this family is that many of them are vegetarians.

The groups of hominids spend much time in order to find out fruits and feed each member of their family. Sometimes, when fruits are hard to find, females prefer to leave their males and find the others males, who can feed them. However, gorillas demonstrate the best example of faithfulness and never leave their males even when fruits become unavailable to their families.

In gorillas and chimpanzees’ families, the role of females is less considerable than in orangutans’ families. If gorilla female cannot demonstrate own dominance and the right of choice, male orangutan prefer to follow some kind of solidarity and take into account the demands of females.

Hominids are the biological group of humans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans that has its own peculiarities and habits. Numerous attempts of paleoanthropologists are aimed at one correct definition of this family, however, the changeability of this definition creates certain challenges and misunderstandings in science. Hominids have much in common with current humans in their style of life, their abilities, and demands. This is why hominids usually interpreted as human-like groups.

Works Cited

Cameron, David, W. Hominid Adaptations and Extinctions. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, Ltd. 2004.

Jurmain, Robert, Kilgore, Lynn, and Trevathan, Wenda. Essentials of Physical Anthropology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. 2009.

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