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What's the group that homo and australopithecines are in that pan isn't in?-- 22:24, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Subtribe Himinina. - UtherSRG (talk) 17:02, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

In anthropological literature, Chimps are not included in Hominini, which includes only the genera Homo, Australopithecus and Paranthropus. (Sort of, your lumper/splitter mileage may vary.) Thomas Greiner explains here:

That's outdated, by about 2-3 years now. - UtherSRG (talk) 17:02, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

What the heck is "Himinina"?[edit]

UtherSRG, don't you mean subtribe Hominina? My question is, if members of Hominini (humans and chimps) are called hominins, what are members of Hominina (humans only) called? Humans? Homins? Homininans? Obviously, we can't call them hominins anymore, so what DO we call them? Help!

Now I had to think of Houyhnhnms!! --FlammingoHey 12:58, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Maybe this will help. The latest info I was able to find on human/ape taxonomy indicates that the tribe Hominini comprises two subtribes, Australopithecina (the australopithecines, obviously) and Hominina (basically living and extinct humans--that is, anything of the genus Homo). So unless I'm mistaken, which is entirely possible, this means that the term "hominin" still refers collectively to the australopithecines and members of Homo.

Yes, I meant "Hominina" and not "Himinina". The information presented in the articles is more up to date than what you are reading in your textbook. - UtherSRG (talk) 03:03, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Uther, the textbook I was referring to is the latest one I could find, the ninth edition of Humankind Emerging, published in August 2005. I know that there is some lag time between the writing and publishing of such books, but I still find it hard to believe that the nomenclature has so radically changed again just in the last year or two. Also, I'm not sure which articles you are referring to that are more up-to-date than this book. Can you direct me to a couple of the most recent scholarly articles on the subject? (If you can, you will save me some research drudgery that I'm perfectly capable of withstanding but that it would be nice to avoid. Also, others might be glad of the references.) Thanks. --kaineas —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Did you read Hominini? Here's one that pushes everything down one level, with all of the apes in Hominidae: - UtherSRG (talk) 23:55, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Please forgive the following childish outburst: AUGH! Okay, now that that's out of my system, yes, I have seen the Wiki entry on Hominini. It puts Pan into a different subtribe from all of the humans and australopithecines and the like. In the little "Genera" box, it clearly states that the human branch is Hominina and that this subtribe does not include chimps. Unfortunately, I needed a more (how shall I put it?) reputable source to go on, so that's why I asked for other sources. You then gave me the link for the Taxonomicon, which is great, and I thank you. BUT. When I click through the different links on the Taxonomicon and get the breakdown on subtribe Hominina, it lists Pan right there along WITH Homo and Australopithecus and Orrorin and all of those dudes. Take a look--compare Wiki's Hominina with the Taxonomicon's. They're different. So, which one is right? Now I don't feel that I can trust the Taxonomicon either. This is what comes of having a suspicious nature, I suppose. --kaineas

Alignment and Clarification Required[edit]

Flammingo, members of the subtribe Hominina are technically called hominans, but as the clade contains only the genus Homo, they are also humans. The taxonomy from superfamily down regrettably comprises several similar sounding terms that not surprisingly have promoted confusion: Superfamily Hominoidea (hominoids, all apes); family Hominidae (hominids, great apes); subfamily Homininae (hominines, African great apes); tribe Hominini (hominins, chimps and all bipedal hominoids [Homo, Australopithecus, etc]); and finally subtribe Hominina (hominans, genus Homo only).

Uther, there remains some disagreement as to the placement of Pan within Hominini, or within its own subtribe Panini (no sandwich puns please!), which may be partly due to lag in rewrite and reassignment, but also may reflect a mild xenophobic reticence to place chimps in our tribe. (I suspect there would be far less reticence had the phylogenetic organizers introduced the clade "infrafamily" at the chimp/human level and tribe at the human level, and not introduced subtribe at all, or, to be completely consistent with the monophylogenic cladistics, introduce subtribe[s] to separate distal non-Homo genera [Paranthropus] from proximal genera [Australopithecus]). Regardless of the terms selected or the organization, the Hominini article contains a glaring contradiction between the first two sentences regarding the definition of hominini and hominin, and the placement status of chimps. I fully concur with the trichotomic resolving approach, but we should, one, be consistent in our definition within and across articles, and, two, ensure that the reader is aware of the somewhat unresolved state of taxonomy. RES2 14:08, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

Article is incorrect[edit]

Uther, the only support you've offered for the idea that Hominini should include humans and chimps and all descendants of their common ancestor, is the Taxonomicon. But the Taxonomicon actually indicates that Hominini should include humans and gorillas and all descendants of their common ancestor. ( Meanwhile, we have an article published today in Science that states: "Bipedalism is a key human adaptation and a defining feature of the hominin clade." (;319/5870/1662). A review of that article in the same issue says "The new study confirms that Orrorin walked upright - a defining characteristic of being a hominin, the primate group that includes humans and our ancestors but not other apes." (Ann Gibbons. 2008. Millenium ancestor gets its walking papers. Science 319:1599-1601. March 21). So either this wiki article is wrong and the Taxonomicon is right, or (as I expect) this wiki article is wrong and the Science articles are right, but either way this wiki article is wrong. (Cirbryn (talk) 17:52, 21 March 2008 (UTC))

Hi, Cirbryn. This is exactly what I was getting at--I would sooner trust the Taxonomicon and a very recent textbook than a Wiki entry that offers no substantiation. Are you planning to edit the article so that it's correct? kaineas 04:08, 28 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kaineas (talkcontribs)

Status of the genus Pan[edit]

The web page says that, based on the comparisons of chimpanzee DNA with human DNA shows that humans and chimpanzees share 98 percent of their DNA. This may suggest that Hominina and Panina should be abandoned. In this case, Pan and Homo should be considered descendants of Sahelanthropus and Orrorin.

The web page shows that humans and chimps diverged from their common ancesotor about 7 million years ago. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:05, 5 December 2006 (UTC).

replies to all of the above[edit]

Textbooks never use the latest good information. It takes years for the best thoughts on these kinds of subjects to get into textbooks. Sometimes decades. Textbooks are *not* a good source of information. That said, I don't have full access to the Science Mag paper, so I can't tell if it lays out any cladistics regarding the various species it studies. If someone with access could report on that, that would be great. The New Scientist article is 5 years old. There have been several papers re-estimating the split time since then. The PhysOrg article is reporting on one of them.

There does not seem to be a clear taxonomy for the tribe Hominini. Perhaps the subtribes should be abandoned, perhaps they shouldn't. I admit to not being very pedantic when I first created the articles, so I don't know what it is that made me believe that that was the right thing to do. I think the best is to take a guess and keep our articles consistent along that singular guess, but to describe the other possibilities where appropriate. - UtherSRG (talk) 04:42, 28 March 2008 (UTC)


There are two species in the genus Pan. One is the Common Chimpanzee, the other is the Bonobo. Together, they are the chimpanzees. - UtherSRG (talk) 06:32, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, I think that's based on old ideas with respect to bonobo and a failure in common usage to distinguish between them and common chimpanzees; Pan is the more precise term. I'm pretty sure common usage has evolved; I'll look for some cites. I don't really care about all that but did you have any problem with my rewrite of the lead regarding the two genera in this tribe. The reference to two genera, Homo (incorrectly piped to "humans") and Pan and "their extinct ancestors" is incorrect. The tribe includes all of those two genera, only three species of which are extant and many of the extinct ones aren't' ancestors of the ones that are around today.--Doug.(talk contribs) 03:46, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't know much about the extinct species, unfortunately. I stand by what I said about the two species of chimpanzees. - UtherSRG (talk) 04:08, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

New Edits[edit]

I've made two new edits to this article. The first is a quick mention that there are two species in the genus Pan. The second is an actual change to the definition given by the article, and I really hope it's received well. I took Doug's suggestion above, and worked it into the article again. I used the term "extinct lineages" instead of "extinct descendants", as I think that is more easily understood to mean splitting and dying species.

Misha Vargas (talk) 16:03, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

It has been pointed out to me that I may have inappropriately excluded from Hominini all animals living within the space between the last common ancestor of humans and chimps, and the splitting event of the subfamily Homininae into the two branches leading to chimps/humans and gorillas. That's a pretty major error.
Misha Vargas (talk) 02:40, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

"Unusual" process of speciation?[edit]

I'm adding a bit more about what makes it unusual--if it is and not just more closely studied than, say, goat lineages. I'd rather simply say what happened and note that the researchers think it's unusual. Monado (talk) 00:35, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Wrong family tree[edit]

File:Hominini.PNG is not correct. Hominini is internationally only used for Homo and his precursors, but not for Homo and Pan. The precursors of Pan should be named as Panini. --De.Gerbil (talk) 17:32, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

You are partially correct, and partially not. For the most part, we follow MSW3 (2005) for terminology. MSW3 notes: "The genera are placed in two subfamilies by Groves (2001c): Ponginae (Pongo alone), and Homininae (Gorilla, Homo, Pan). McKenna and Bell (1997) included Hylobatidae in addition, as a subfamily, and within the Homininae recognized two living tribes, Pongini and Hominini; Goodman et al. (1998) recognized gibbons only as a tribe (Hylobatini), with the other three genera as a separate tribe (Hominini), divided into subtribes Pongina and Hominina; they included Pan in Homo, and Watson et al. (2001) included both Pan and Gorilla in Homo." Following this, the terminology in the image (and all of the hominid articles) follows. I have seen what you mention (today, in fact, at Border's in a book published in 2004, a year before MSW3), with Panini being composed solely of Pan, but that structure then places Panini & Hominini in Homininae, and Gorilla in Gorillinae. Homininae + Gorillinae = Hominidae, and Hominidae + Pongidae = Hominoidea, and Hominoidea + Hylobatoidea = (something I can't remember). It's the same structure, but with each taxon given a ranking 1 higher. (-oidea = super family, -idae = family, -inae = subfamily, -ini = tribe, -ina = subtribe) Since we follow MSW3, Hominini conatains Hominina and Panina, with Homo and its close ancestors in Hominina and Pan and its close ancestors in Panina. - UtherSRG (talk) 05:10, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
I seriously doubt that this nomenclature is up-to-date; this Nature review article, for instance, doi:10.1038/nature09709, p. 347, distinguishes "Tribe Panini (panins) / Genus Pan" vs. "Tribe Hominini (hominins) / Genus Australopithecus, Genus Kenyapithecus, Genus Homo". Bernard Wood and Terry Harrison are leading paleoanthropologists. --De.Gerbil (talk) 18:32, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Are the terms "hominini" and "hominins" variants of each other?[edit]

Both terms are used in this article. I'm guessing that they're just variant spellings but if so than it should be made clear. Thanks. W.F.Galway (talk) 18:14, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

As best I can sort it out it goes like this: first off, we're all a bunch of simian primates. Easy words. But then it gets complicated and really similar:

I definitely share your confusion here. The dropping of the 'i' at the end is for common reference so we can talk about it more simply using 2 syllables. One way to remember these is that as we move down the list, it switches from Ds to Ns and long vowels to short vowels. "oid" is a long 'o' sound, 'id' is a short 'i', 'ine' is a long 'i', 'in' is a short 'i'.

One thing they all share in common is homin which is a deleted disambiguation page. I'm going to restore it to illustrate this issue. Y12J (talk) 00:06, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

It's a matter of noun vs adjective (and adjectival noun). "Hominoid" is an adjective (and adjectival noun), while "Hominoidea" is a noun, etc. "Members of Hominidae are hominids." (adjectival noun usage) "The orangutans are hominid primates." (adjective usage) the clades (families, etc) are all group nouns - terms that are always singular ("the family Hominidae") - which have one or more members (more typically more than one). The adjectives (or adjectival nouns, really) are the members of the clades, and can be plural or singular. "Gorillas are hominids." "The Bornean oranguatan is not a hominine." Your shorthand almost always works: -oidea is almost always an animal superfamily, -idae is almost always an animal family, -inae is almst always an animal subfamily, -ini is almost always a tribe, and -ina is almost always a subtribe. Things sometimes get confusing as taxonomy changes: subfamily Ponginae use to be the family Pongidae, and its members are still sometimes referred to as pongids instead of pongines. - UtherSRG (talk) 07:27, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Source for "Blood Transfusions between Homonini Species"[edit]

I haven't been able to track down a proper citation for the (probable) fact, but apparently Jane Goodall says it in a DVD: "Jane Goodall: Return to Gombe". Not a good enough source to cite as authoritative, but she got the idea from somewhere. I suspect someone with access to bio or medical journals should be able find something pretty easily. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:53, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Further on definition[edit]

1. MSW3 only formally recognises families and genus, and discusses sub-families and tribes as terms which have no generally accepted classification. I think it should be made clear at the start of the article that hominini is a term which is used by researchers but is defined in different ways.

2. Uther above says that the article follows the MSW3 definition of hominini, but the quote he gives makes clear that this is only one 1997 view by McKenna & Bell. It also cites Goodman et al in 1998 as including gorillas in hominini. Reference 1 in the Wiki article also by Goodman from 1990 gives the same definition. These sources are all dated, and I do not see why one 1997 definition is regarded as authoritative, especially as Uther dismisses later alternative definitions as out of date. I cannot find any later sources which define hominini as homo + pan, although I do not have access to some of the sources cited.

3. The most recent sources I can find define hominini as the homo line. Chris Stringer & Peter Andrews in the 2005 The Complete World of Human Evolution p. 16 has tribes Panini and Hominini and genuses Pan and Homo. Dean Falk's 2011 The Fossil Wars uses it in the same sense. Merriam-Webster at [1] and Archaeology at [2] have the same definition. This is the dominant modern usage so far as I can see - as editors above have also argued.

4. References 2, 6 and 7 are useless as the urls are missing. Dudley Miles (talk) 11:47, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm no expert, but here are some sources saying that "hominin" refers just to humans, australopithecines, etc. -- not chimpanzees, etc. Scales (talk) 00:45, 27 July 2012 (UTC)


I think it would be a good idea to create a new article titled "Hominoid taxonomies", similar to [3], and to merge this article there. Alternatively, to create "Hominoid taxonomies (disambiguation)".

The problem is that there are so many potentially-confusing terms in this area:

  • There's the clades Hominoidea ("apes" suborder or superfamily), Hominidae ("great apes" family) and Homininae (subfamily including gorillas not orangutans).
  • Hominini is ambiguous (either meaning everything more human than chimps, or else meaning humans and chimps but not gorillas, probably depending on when you ask. Also note we are inconsistent about whether everything more chimpanzee than human should be called the Panini tribe or Panina subtribe).
  • Hominina (subfamily) apparently coined because Homo needed more synonyms?
  • The adjectival nouns: Hominoids (may or may not include gibbons), hominids (either all great apes or else excluding even chimps), hominins (usually hominini sometimes homininae), and hominans/hominas (homos).
  • Humanoids (which was applied to fossils in the past, but now usually robots and sci-fi aliens), homins (which may include giants and bigfoot[4]), humans (whatever that term means, let alone humane/humanity/people, and then there's even races, and the controversy whether human population genetics can be separated from racism and eugenics).

Honestly, I'm not making these up.

With a bunch of separate stubs, it's difficult to keep them mutually consistent let alone to explain the ambiguity and avoid unwittingly confusing readers. Cesiumfrog (talk) 03:07, 12 November 2012 (UTC)


A diagram in Primate shows "Hominini" as the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. That's obviously inconsistent with the present article, which says that Hominini is the tribe of Homininae that comprises Homo, and other members of the human clade after the split from the tribe Panini (chimpanzees). It would seem that we either should reconcile the articles, or add some sort of explanation in this article as to the different meanings of the term. John M Baker (talk) 01:58, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

The first sentence of the article seems to be inconsistent with the rest of the article and the provided chart. It states that Hominini is the line of humans after the split with chimps (Panini), though the rest of the article and the chart talks about Hominini as after the split with gorillas, but encompassing both chimps (Panini) and humans (Hominina?). Can someone clarify? - Boneyard90 (talk) 21:05, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
And if Hominini does exclude Chimpanzees, then what's the term for the group that includes Humans and Chimpanzees, but not Gorillas? I suspect that Hominini includes Chimpanzees (despite what this page currently says). Here's one possibility:
Humans, and Homo Erectus, and Australopithecus, and Chimpanzees, and Gorillas, not Orangutans: Subfamily Homininae
Humans, and Homo Erectus, and Australopithecus, and Chimpanzees, not Gorillas: Tribe Hominini
Humans, and Homo Erectus, and Australopithecus, not Chimpanzees: Subtribe Hominina
Humans, and Homo Erectus, not Australopithecus: Genus Homo
Humans, not Homo Erectus: Species Homo Sapien
That's my theory, but I can't find a source for it. Can anyone else confirm it? And if that's wrong, can someone else provide a consistent, corrected version, in the same format? - (talk) 02:16, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
That's my understanding of it. However the articles are massively inconsistent. Is it worth having an RFC to see what the general understanding is (and hunting for most up to date sources) and making the articles consistent hilighting any ongoing disputes within the academic field? SPACKlick (talk) 10:46, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

RFC that may affect this page[edit]

There is an RFC that may affect this page at WikiProject Tree of Life. The topic is Confusion over taxonomy of subtribe Panina and taxon homininae (are chimps hominins)?

Please feel free to comment there. SPACKlick (talk) 16:37, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

The body of this article has recently been amended to say that Hominini includes Chimpanzees. And I think that's right. But someone still needs to update the Genera section of the information box on the right. And I suggest we add an article for the subtribe Hominina. - (talk) 16:47, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

The Human Clade[edit]

The human clade links here but is only a part of this referent. It is the most important referent that has no article on Wikipedia of its own. Therefore, a new article about it should be split from this article. Chrisrus (talk) 14:47, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

Cela-Conde and Ayala (2003) recognize five genera within Hominina: Ardipithecus, Australopithecus (including Paranthropus), Homo (including Kenyanthropus), Praeanthropus (including Orrorin), and Sahelanthropus.[1]

I believe hominina could be the clade to which you refer although paranthropus and australopithecus generally are considered to include individuals likely to be on the panina side of the divide as they were extant at the time. SPACKlick (talk) 22:04, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

Human says: "Modern humans (Homo sapiens primarily ssp. Homo sapiens sapiens) are the only extant members of the hominin clade, a branch of great apes characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion, manual dexterity and increased tool use, and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies." Chrisrus (talk) 05:32, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
The use of "Hominini" throughout Wikipedia is a mess indeed: this article says it includes chimpanzees, in other places it says it doesn't. --JorisvS (talk) 09:18, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
There were inconsistencies. There is a user who has undertaken the project of trying to make wikipedia consistent on this matter. If you go to the above linked discussion at tree of life there is more discussion there. The use is not consistent between biologist and anthropologists. SPACKlick (talk) 11:17, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
Where is the "....branch of great apes characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion, manual dexterity and increased tool use, and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies"? Chrisrus (talk) 15:35, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
Usage on Wikipedia should be consistent, else it will only generate confusion. A possibility to be consistent without choosing one or the other is to explain differences clearly here and make sure that for every use it is clear which of the two is meant. In any case, the current mess is no good. --JorisvS (talk) 15:48, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
Just because the "....branch of great apes characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion, manual dexterity and increased tool use, and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies" doesn't have a taxon doesn't mean it doesn't deserve an article. It doesn't matter what the taxon is or if there is no taxon for it. There is not taxon for fish, but it still has an article. Chrisrus (talk) 18:36, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
The taxa of it is likely hominina. Whether or not it is, if you feel the article ought to exist, create one, called the human clade. Job done SPACKlick (talk) 16:27, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

I added a cladogram according to Wood and Richmond, with Gorilli split out seperately. Names are shifted with respect to the other pictures in the article. It appears there is no name for the sister clade of the Gorilli. I think the cladogram is correct. There will need to be some cleaning up.Jmv2009 (talk) 18:55, 23 December 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ C. J. Cela-Conde and F. J. Ayala. 2003. "Genera of the human lineage". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100(13):7684-7689.

Layout: Cladogram and Adjacent Infobox[edit]

Despite recent formatting work by Chiswick Chap on the modern cladogram (thank you), at some browser widths the article still displays a lot of white space to the left of the infobox and above the cladogram. Can anything be done (to the layout?) to avoid this? Thanks. --Frans Fowler (talk) 00:06, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

RE "deleted white space"[edit]

Deleted white space in the lede by relocating the graphic (cladogram). Hate to be a scold, .. but it’s really “not ok” to install white space on a page when usually it can be avoided, esp in the lede column; it foists distraction and mystery on the reader, and discredits Wiki- workmanship (or, page-composership? :-). Re the lede column, graphics often create a problem there, which needn’t be, as they, graphics, logically should be introduced in the main-body narrative. Re the relocated cladogram: its presentation and narrative need work---which I am doing now. Also, the paleo-dates need sources, for which I will rely others to provide. Regards all, Jbeans (talk) 14:53, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Modified Hominoidae cladogram[edit]

Modified Hominoidae cladogram, explaining its consituent clades with emphases on tribe Hominini and subtribes Hominina and Australopithecina. Provided sourced dates for two clades and will continue to look for more. Provided set-up narrative ("Recent molecular analyses ..."), for others to document refined paleo-dates---with sources, please.

(NB> Used italics on the taxon labels in the top of the section narrative---not because I thought rules required them; put them there to assist the reader in interpreting the cladogram).

There is problematic narrative at the top the lede-column, beginning with "Members of the human clade ..."; plus the use of the term "homininans". I'll be working there next. Regards,Jbeans (talk) 02:21, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Hominin or Homininan?[edit]

Restored terminology, to previous correct> "hominins"---from "homininans"---(see History 20:21, 23 Dec 2016). The referent "hominins" was exchanged but its original source citation was left in place on the new referent---as though: what a source cite actually says doesn't matter re the reliability/ reputation of Wikipedia narrative. PLEASE! (NB> title of the cite: Cameron, D. W. (2003). "Early hominin speciation at the Plio/Pleistocene transition." ...). Regards,Jbeans (talk) 15:58, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

More inconsistencies[edit]

Issue 1: This article for Hominini seems to say Chimps are included in Hominini but not Hominins. But the article for Hominidae says a Hominin is just the term for a member of the tribe Hominini, in which case it wouldn't make sense to include Chimps in one term but not the other. This article for Hominini admits that its usage of "hominin" does not conform to conventional rules for labeling taxa and affixing taxon-name endings to its members. So I suspect the article for Hominidae is right, and the confusion in this article for Hominini is a result of relying on sources that have become outdated in a rapidly updating field. Although I'm not an expert, so I'll leave it to someone else to fix whichever article is wrong.

Issue 2: This article for Hominini also says that Hominina excludes Australopithecina. But the articles for Hominidae and Australopithecine say Hominina includes Australopithecina (although on the Australopithecine article it misspells it as Homonina). There again I suspect the article for Hominidae is right, and this article's mistake about Hominina is a result of confusion over issue 1. But there again, I'll leave it to someone else to fix whichever article is wrong. - (talk) 16:55, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

I took a crack at it. I tried to reduce confusing, vague, pedantic, or excessively nuanced language. Also tried to reduce Original Research, POV language, and modified outdated descriptions of views on taxonomy and relationships among species. It still needs some work. - Boneyard90 (talk) 02:13, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Gray (1824)[edit]

This is a mess. If "Hominini (Gray 1824)" is used, then the definition by Gray needs to be adhered to, which includes Pan. If there is a new proposal excluding Pan, then a different authority from Gray needs to be cited.

I believe the problem is that the term by design should include "humans, and the closest taxon of non-humans", which in Gray's time was human and chimps, but which in our time would be humans and australopithecine "proto-humans". But if there is serious support behind this change, then there needs to be an explicit citation of an authority proposing the change, it isn't enough to just cite books about "Why Evolution is True" hand-wavingly explaining that "scientists now tend to" use the term in a different sense.

Arguing from the Principle of Priority, one could also take the position that any attempt to exclude Pan from Hominini is simply wrong. The introduction of a "common name" hominins which excludes Pan is not technically "wrong" (because it is a common name and can mean anything you want it to mean on any given day), but it seems misleading to say the least, and we should try to find someone who explicitly argues for using this (instead of just reporting that this usage has been seen in the wild). --dab (𒁳) 12:01, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Apparently[5], Panini was introduced 1977. Clearly, Panini, Gorillini and Hominini are supposed to be tribes on equal taxonomic footing, hence an actual proposal to kick Pan out of Hominini may have been made in 1977? --dab (𒁳) 12:53, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Not extinct[edit]

Jmv2009 is deleting the classification of simian species such as Australopithecus and Propliopithecoidea as extinct on the ground that modern species may be descended from them. However they no longer exist even if they have descendants. For example the dates for Australopithecus are shown as 4.5–1.977 Ma. Do other editors have views on this? Dudley Miles (talk) 13:01, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

They are extinct of course. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 13:07, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

That's like saying that mammals don't exist anymore. On what grounds are they extinct? Extinct means they don't have descendants. cladistics Jmv2009 (talk) 13:07, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

See Catarrhini + refs:

Propliopithecoidea nor Catarrhini appear to be extinct:

Crown Simians (37)


Catarrhini (35)

Oligopithecidae (†34 Mya)

Propliopithecoidea (35)

Taqah Propliopithecid (†31)

Propliopithecoidea s.s. (†31)

Propliopithecus (†30)

Aegyptopithecus (†30)


Kamoyapithecus (†25)

Pliopithecoidea (†6)

Dendropithecidae (32)
Dendropithecidae s.s (22)

Dendropithecus (†20)

Limnopithecus legetet (†20)

Limnopithecus evansi (†20)


Simiolus (†17)

Micropithecus (†17)

Crown Catharrhini (31)



Saadanioidea (†28)

Cercopithecoidea (24)

Victoriapithecinae (†19)

Crown Cercopithecoidea

Jmv2009 (talk) 13:24, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

Mammals are a class which includes extinct and living species. Extinct means having no living representative. Your definition would mean that virtually every Wikipedia article about species which no longer exist would need re-writing. Even the Catarrhini article, which you cite, states that australopithecines are extinct. Dudley Miles (talk) 14:13, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
  • If a genus has no living members then that genus is extinct. If a species has no living members then that species is extinct. If a tribe has no living members then that tribe is extinct. And the same goes for all other taxa. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 14:46, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

This is frequently encountered when using the taxonomy system, which does not allow for new insights, or is very inflexible therein. E.g. it's hard to account for the realization that certain groups emerged IN other groups. Don't think in taxonomic ranks as they can easily get inconsistent. Think in clades. Jmv2009 (talk) 16:51, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

Only articles which have other groups emerged in them would need rewriting. With a single species this is rarely the case, as without additional information they are considered a sidebranch. When multiple similar are lumped together, later it is often realized they are actually a paraphyletic stem group, meaning they are not extinct after all, and the newly incorporated group has to get added, cladistically. I think frankly most problems occur in the human evolution, where people are excessively squeamish about these matters. Please point me out places where there is a similar problem outside of the human evolution.Jmv2009 (talk) 16:55, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

Aurochs (presented as extinct); Bison antiquus (presented as extinct); Cave bear (presented as extinct but analogous to Neanderthal and Denisovan vs humans, with low-single-digit-percent introgression into modern bears). I could go on. . . . So it is not just human squeamishness, it is just one representation of the disagreement over the degree to which cladistics should override taxonomy that is also seen in the debate over whether birds are dinosaurs (which if taken to its unavoidable conclusion would likewise make them both fish, and us too). Agricolae (talk) 02:12, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
If Australopithecus is not extinct because we may be descended from them then we are Australopithecus. Can you point to reliable sources which take that view or which state that Australopithecus is not extinct? Otherwise your edits should be reverted. Wikipedia has to be based on reliable sources, not arguments put forward by editors. Dudley Miles (talk) 11:19, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

[6] state that Australophithecus (without homo) is not a natural group, is paraphyletic (which is saying the same thing). Keeping non natural groups/paraphyletic groups is always discussed as at least somewhat problematic [7]. "... the paraphyly of Australopithecus gives the mistaken implication that these taxa are more closely related to each other than they are to other taxa." The way the article is currently, it gives no such misleading impressions. Typically paraphyletic groups are a relic from previous erroneous assessments about proper mutual affiliation. In this case as well: Previously homo and Australopithecus were thought to be sisters. Now it appears homo emerged in Australopitecus, so something has to change. Cladistically, you always have to include the descendents, i.e. including homo. It is now pretty well established that homo somehow emerged within Australopithecus. Almost all articles from the last decades agree with it. (Of course wikipedia doesn't have dinosaurs listed as extinct) You shouldn't find a paper with a cladogram as in [8], and simultaneously claiming the Australophithecus are extinct. You will probably find a claim that they are paraphyletic. In the Australophithecus article, the statements are made very carefully, about under which framework (cladistics) homo is included. Jmv2009 (talk) 20:01, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

[9] Discusses the mess that is Australopithecus, as well as the squeamishness with respect to the human lineage.Jmv2009 (talk) 20:50, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

Whatever happens, at least the traditionally excluded groups should be mentioned in any discussion of paraphyletic groups. Jmv2009 (talk) 21:12, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

  • As noted earlier, a taxon or population is usually considered extinct even if it has living descendants, as long as the features that define it do not exist anymore (or do not exist in their original configuration/combination). This goes for the aurochs and wild horse, as well as extinct human/hominid populations. FunkMonk (talk) 22:50, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • You seem to be taking it for granted that taxonomy is fundamentally cladistic in nature. It is fundamentally descriptive classification. There is descriptive value in an unnatural group classification of bony fishes that doesn't include giraffes. Anyhow, you are arguing for the way things 'should' be viewed, for a given value of 'should'. Wikipedia isn't about that. If Homo is to be a separate genus from Australopithecus, then clearly these species-level divisions are not by nature cladistic natural groupings and any argument predicated on that assumption immediately falls flat. As has been suggested, find a group of sources that demonstrate a scientific consensus saying Australopithecines are extant today, and we will have something to talk about. Otherwise, the consensus is that there are no living members of the genus: it is extinct. Agricolae (talk) 02:06, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
    • What are we even talking about here? Is there a problem with the following cladogram? This is more or less directly from [10].

Panina (chimpanzees)

Australopithecus anamensis (†)

Australopithecus afarensis (†)

Australopithecus garhi (†)

Australopithecus africanus (†)

Paranthropus (†2)


This cladogram is not controversial. A similar one can be found in [11]. The main problem here, obviously, is that "Australopithicus" either does not exist anymore, or is not extinct. From the article "This taxonomy is still less than ideal, because the paraphyly of Australopithecus gives the mistaken implication that these taxa are more closely related to each other than they are to other taxa. To retain traditional taxa like Australopithecus with their conventional definitions, this is the best that can be done". The article clearly does not state that Australopithecus is extinct. I have not found articles which have such a cladogram stating "Australopithecus" is extinct. Or is the only problem occurring when "Australopithecus" is being used as label of the second clade in the cladogram (corresponding to the blue start of the figure 5 in [12]) "improperly" (but cladistically correct) suggesting that homo is part of "Australopithecus". But the problem here appears more that evidently a genus appears in another genus, which violates the rules of traditional taxonomy. Furthermore, genus may inadvertantly be considered a special level in taxonomy, as the taxonomic genus is included in the name? This is due to an error in historical assessment {Mann and Weiss (1996), dividing homonini in Homo, Australopithicines, and Panina), which they obviously would not have done if they had realized Homo had emerged in Australopithicines}.Jmv2009 (talk) 04:19, 16 October 2018 (UTC)

You can lay out all the cladograms you want. It doesn't change anything. The fact that Homo emerged from Australopithecus does not necessitate that we be Australopithecus sapiens. There are no living members of Australopithecus. Agricolae (talk) 16:34, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
As four editors disagree with Jmv2009's redefinition of extinct I will revert the edits. Dudley Miles (talk) 17:34, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
That we be Australopithecus sapiens is gross mischaracterisation of my position! Where did I say that? Anyway, I changed Australopithecus. Please review.Jmv2009 (talk) 18:26, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
Is it though? That is the only way there would be living Australopithecus, the only way they wouldn't be extinct. Agricolae (talk) 19:24, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
So it appears you are at least in part arguing that a group should be considered extinct because this group was assigned the genus level, which impacts the names of the members. That's royally screwed up. How can that possibly work when e.g both genera, parent and daughter? In any case, "all genus concepts used in palaeoanthropology agree that genera should be monophyletic." [13]
However, the governing body of taxonomy, the ICZN Code, does not mandate genera are monophyletic. Regardless, no members of the genus Australopithecus are currently extant, and even if we are their descendants we have gone through a process of anagenesis which means we would no longer be able to interbreed and produce viable offspring therefore they are not extant. Anyways, all fossils we have are from dead taxa, so we cannot be sure we even directly descended from any of them. Being evolved from something does not mean we *are* that something, or the UCA (universal common ancestor) would technically still be alive. Time to stop flogging a (literally) dead horse. IJReid {{T - C - D - R}} 23:16, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
Normally, that is actually what it means: A clade includes all descendants. A better wording, in my opinion, is "emerged within", which is what you also find in the literature. UCA is not a clade name. For instance, you are a mammal, just as much as any mammal is. Jmv2009 (talk) Furthermore, interbreeding is not the issue, that's only possible at the species level. 17:30, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
Hold on. You are saying that Homo falls within the clade of Australopithecus and you are likewise promoting the position that genera should be monophyletic, but at the same time you call it a "gross mischaracterization" of your position to suggest that you think humans should be Australopithecus sapiens. Looks like you aren't clear on the consequences of your own positions? Or are you saying that all australopithecines should be in Homo? Either way, you won't find many allies. Agricolae (talk) 01:57, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
1) I actually argue it is less than completely honest to bias an issue because you don't like the consequences. Don't worry, everybody is doing it. 2) Imagine the problem of assigning the rank of e.g. Paranthropus + homo clade. Also "genus"? 3) We still don't need to go so far as explicitly declaring Australopithecus extinct, none of the papers with such a cladogram does. Its like saying that dinosaurs are extinct. That assessment DID change when birds were found to have emerged within them, you know. Jmv2009 (talk) 17:44, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
1) I have no idea what you are saying here, but I am not worried about it because it likely isn't productive anyhow. 2) When you start an argument with 'imagine' it has no place on Wikipedia, where the imagination of editors really has no role in editorial decisions. 3) The body of scientific writing on Australopithecus extends beyond those that present cladograms. And no, it is not the same as the dinosaur argument. Anyhow, talking about cladograms gets this nowhere. What has been lacking from the start are references to Australopithecus still being extant. Without that, you are just wasting everyone's time with your personal opinions, however logically sound you think they may be. Agricolae (talk) 04:01, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
Well, finally, here is literature claiming such paraphyletic and polyphyletic 'non-groups' are 'not literally extinct.'[14]. All of this makes the 'taxa' or groups 'Australopithecus (..) and the subfamily Australopithecinae () utterly paraphyletic. The 'genus' is almost polyphyletic as Kenyantropus is excluded. The is means nonsensical 'non-groups' of which one cannot speak precisely of neither phylogenetic relationships, their characteristic traits, nor literal extinction (see Bonde 19754, 1977, 1981; Patterson, 1980). It appears extremely unfortunate ... . - this creates 'non-groups; paraphyletic.
Of course it is the same as the dinosaur argument: Step 1) A new group is found not realizing that an extant group is part of it, and is named. It is considered extinct. Step 2) It is realized that the other group extant group is part of it. The new group is not to be considered 'literaly extinct' anymore.
[15] mentions the attempts to resolve paraphyly by Strait (1997) by reassigning the several branches to different monophyletic genera. Jmv2009 (talk) 17:51, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
The source you cite seems to be arguing against the validity of an Australopithecus that unites A. afarensis, A. anamensis, A. sediba and A. africanus, and more generally finding fault with the criteria used to define the genus. It takes some real mental gymnastics (or cherry-picking of short phrases) to cite someone who thinks Australopithecus is completely invalid as evidence for your claim that Australopithecus is extant.
And of course it is not the same as the bird-dinosaur situation - see how just putting the words 'of course' in front of a brazen statement of personal opinion doesn't really make it unimpeachable? If birds are dinosaur simply on the basis of phylogeny, then we are all bony fish, which is patently ridiculous. Agricolae (talk) 00:44, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
1) Firstly, the source is clearly arguing against the use of paraphyletic/non-group taxons (such as Austrolopithecus, Non-avian dinosours), saying you can not talk precisely about their literal extinction; no cherry picking. Please note that in cladistics, there is no gap between paraphyly and "completely invalid", as you appear to be implying. The reason is also given: The means nonsensical 'non-groups' of which one cannot speak precisely of neither phylogenetic relationships, their characteristic traits, nor literal extinction.
Secondly, he is proposing one of the ways to "resolve" the invalidity/paraphyly (invalidity). There are three ways to resolve the invalidity/non-group/paraphyly: 1) Stop using the taxon as it is considered invalid. 2) Add the last common ancestor and descendants. (in this case: add homo) 3) Remove some branches. (i.e. in this case, if the above cladogram is accurate, remove most branches) Thirdly, what level any taxon is, is generally recognized as largely arbitrary anyway: Independent working groups will come up with different results. In any case, the statement of the source (and given references given by him) that of such paraphyletic/polyphyletic/non-group/invalid taxons you can not talk precisely about their literal extinction.
Here is arguing that we are fish/bony fish, cladistically: [16] [17][1] Jmv2009 (talk) 05:13, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
So, the three choices to fix the problem are to abolish Australopithecus, which doesn't exactly make it extant, OR we become Australopithecus sapiens, which above you regard as a gross mischaracterization of your position, OR you completely change thee meaning Australopithecus (or, I guess, fish) to match the desired clade, which completely begs the question. Not a real winner there among the options. This bores me. I'm done. Agricolae (talk) 05:48, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Actually, a potentially viable alternative to 'your proposals' is to have homo included, but that Australopithecus is not considered a genus anymore, but a higher level taxon. The authority already alluded to this by the use of quotation marks when quoting the taxonomic level as 'genus'. This may involve the establishment of other genuses and the associated species name changes, e.g. 'Preanthropus afarensis', Kenyanthropus. See e.g. [18][19] [20][21], footnote a), which does not appear to take a stand on whether to maintain Australopithecus. I don't think we are going to be Australopithecus as a genus, but possibly as a clade (i.e. supergenus). Despite [22] and [23], discussing the possibility of Australopithecus sapiens.

As for extinction of these paraphyletic clades, how to falsify literal extinction as a scientific question? By showing there is an extant group coming out of the group. So when you accept these are paraphyletic w.r.t homo, you simultaneously falsify extinction. What other method is there?

Another ref concerning paraphyly and extinction[2]

Not true extinct due to hybridization [3]

Here is another figure showing Australopithecus as not extinct (chapter 20)[4] Jmv2009 (talk) 08:01, 13 January 2019 (UTC)

Jmv2009 (talk) 07:21, 20 October 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Greene, Harry W. (1998-01-01). "We are primates and we are fish: Teaching monophyletic organismal biology". Integrative Biology: Issues, News, and Reviews. 1 (3). doi:10.1002/(sici)1520-6602(1998);2-t. ISSN 1520-6602.
  2. ^ Hecht, Max (2013-11-11). Major Patterns in Vertebrate Evolution. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781468488517.
  3. ^ Ko, Kwang Hyun (2016-07-16). "Hominin interbreeding and the evolution of human variation". Journal of Biological Research-Thessaloniki. 23 (1): 17. doi:10.1186/s40709-016-0054-7. ISSN 2241-5793. PMC 4947341. PMID 27429943.
  4. ^ "Cowen: History of Life, 5th Edition - Student Companion Site". Retrieved 2019-01-13.