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The term hominid has two common definitions.

  1. It can refer to prehistoric man, as well as a modern human. It is the colloquial cave man.
  2. In taxonomy, it can refer to humans, as well as the great apes, including gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and their evolutionary ancestors.

The first definition is similar to what is found in common dictionaries.[1] It is also commonly used to refer to what evolutionists consider to be human ancestors and closely related species like Neanderthals.[2]

The second definition is preferred by many modern biologists who deemphasize the distinction between humans and apes.

The oldest generally accepted hominid genus is Australopithecus, which appeared in southern Africa about 4½ million years ago in the early Pliocene. Some researchers have tried to trace a progressive line of evolutionary ascent from Australopithecus through Homo habilis and Homo erectus to modern humans, but such a simplistic interpretation of the fossil record is hotly contested, even among Darwinists. The origin of the hominid family itself is even more problematic. [3]


  1. Merriam-Webster dictionary [1], American Heritage [2]
  2. This museum exhibit on hominids does not include gorillas

See also