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Hominidae

Hominidae (suborder Simiiformes, superfamily Hominoidea) The family that, in old classifications, included humans and immediately ancestral forms now extinct; its members were distinguished from the apes (Pongidae) by the possession of a much larger brain, in which the frontal and occipital lobes are especially well developed, allowing more complex behaviour including communication by speech; by a fully erect posture facilitated by the positioning of the foramen magnum beneath the skull so that the head is held upright; by a bipedal gait; and by the slow rate of postnatal growth and development, which favours complex social organization and the emergence of distinct cultures. The family included the genera Paranthropus, Australopithecus (but See AUSTRALOPITHECINES), and Homo; formerly Ramapithecus was also included in this family, but this is now rejected. There was said to be one surviving species, Homo sapiens sapiens (humans). There is now increasing evidence that gorillas and chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than to orang-utans, implying that all, or at least the African, apes should be included with humans in the Hominidae.

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Hominidae

Hominidae (order Primates, suborder Anthropoidea, superfamily Hominoidea) The mammalian family that includes humans and immediately ancestral forms now extinct. Its members are distinguished from the apes (Pongidae) (a) by the possession of a much larger brain, in which the frontal and occipital lobes are especially well developed, allowing more complex behaviour including communication by speech; (b) by a fully erect posture facilitated by the positioning of the foramen magnum beneath the skull so that the head is held upright; (c) by a bipedal gait; and (d) by the slow rate of post-natal growth and development, which favours complex social organization and the emergence of distinct cultures. The family includes the genera Paranthropus, Australopithecus (but see AUSTRALOPITHECINES), and Homo. Whether a possible ancestral genus Ramapithecus should also be included in this family, or with the apes, is a matter for debate.

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