Hominoidea

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Hominoidea (order Primates, suborder Simiiformes) A superfamily that comprises the Hylobatidae (gibbons), Pongidae (great apes), and Hominidae (humans). The latter two families are believed to be descended from a common stock of ‘great apes’ which diverged to form distinct Asian and African lines, the African line dividing again 4–6 million years ago into the African apes and the hominids. An increasing number of authorities hold that the hominids and African apes should be grouped together and the orang-utan separately; or else, that all great apes should be included in the Hominidae. The hominoids lack tails and cheek pouches; have catarrhine nostrils and opposable thumbs (reduced in some species); and differ from the Cercopithecidae in having less specialized dentition, a vermiform appendix in the gut, and larger heads, longer limbs, and wider chests, which some authorities believe they inherited from ancestral brachiating forms. Today only the Hylobatidae are specialized brachiators.

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Hominoidea (order Primates, suborder Anthropoidea) Superfamily comprising the Hylobatidae (gibbons), Pongidae (great apes), and Hominidae (humans and their immediate ancestors). The latter two families are believed to be descended from a common stock of ‘great apes’ which diverged to form distinct Asian and African lines, the African line dividing again 4–6 million years ago into the African apes and the hominids. The hominoids lack tails and cheek pouches; have opposable thumbs (reduced in some species); and differ from the Cercopithecidae in having less-specialized dentition, larger heads, longer limbs, and wider chests which some authorities believe they inherited from ancestral brachiating forms. Today only the Hylobatidae (gibbons) are specialized brachiators (i.e. swing from branches hand over hand).

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