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Confusion over taxonomy of subtribe Panina and taxon homininae (are chimps hominins)[edit]

NAC: No consensus. This RFC wasn't stated with a question lending itself to closure with a consensus. However, multiple editors have noted that there is no consensus among taxonomists as to which of various taxonomies to use for anthropoids. (In other words, some scientists say that chimps are hominins, and some say that they are not hominins. If a consensus is desired, a new RFC that asks a specific question would be useful. Robert McClenon (talk) 06:07, 18 June 2015 (UTC)}} [Striking closure of RFC whose originator was planning to close out. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:20, 18 June 2015 (UTC)] [I stand by the conclusion. It just isn't a closure because the RFC was not a well-formed RFC. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:22, 18 June 2015 (UTC)]

I have noticed some contradictions on and across several pages relating to the taxonomic classification of Chimpanzees. In essence some pages use the system where Homininae split into Gorillini and Hominini and then Hominini divides into Hominina and Panina. Other pages use a system where Homininae trifurcates into Gorillini, Hominini and Panini. Several pages use both in different Parts. (Chimpanzee lists Chimpanzees as Hominini in the lede but Panini in the infobox). I can't find sources detailing a controversy or an overturn of the historic system. Which should be used and can I get some help making the pages consistent?

Affected Pages: Hominini, Sahelanthropus, Homininae, Chimpanzee-human last common ancestor, Ape, Hominidae, Homo, Chimpanzee, Primate, Homo Floresiensis#Bone structure, Timeline of human evolution, List of mammals of Burundi, List of primates, Human, Panini,Common Chimpanzee, Bonobo

Also may be affected Hominin and Panini (primates)

Apologies if this is in the wrong place SPACKlick (talk) 16:34, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

I think you have a typo, should "system where Hominina trifurcates" read "system where Homininae trifurcates"?


  • Homininae
    • Gorillini
    • Hominini
      • Homo
      • Pan


  • Homininae
    • Gorillini
    • Hominini
    • Panini

Those are the two, correct? IOW, we could rephrase this whole debate as, "is Panini a group of animals, or is it just a sandwich?" Britannica kind of makes it sound like we shouldn't use Panini; see here. Hopefully someone knowledgeable will help us out here. Thanks! ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 17:02, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Correct I had a typo in the second list. Your first version is not correct, it should be Hominina and Panina rather than Homo and Pan but other than that yes. This is the distinction. You could ask the debate as "Does panini exist as a group of animals" however my primary focus (because the labels are irrelevant) is about the trifurcation of Homininae. It shouldn't happen and I've never seen a source that suggests it does. However I've seen a lot of people using panini recently and I don't have my finger on the pulse enough to know if this is a change in the taxonomy that's generally accepted now. SPACKlick (talk) 17:12, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
Wikiblame just pinged that the first insertion it could find dates to this edit in September 2012. I've notified the use to see if they can explain why the change. SPACKlick (talk) 17:14, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Let me start by saying that you're probably not going to like my answer. The more palatable short version is that the taxonomy is not universally decided, with some putting chimps in Hominini and others in Panini. (The bad news: there doesn't appear to be any consensus in the literature and that we have to decide so that we can be consistent across our articles.) I ran into the exact same problem within Strepsirrhini, particularly with handling of its infraorders.

From an outside view, taking in primatology and all of its related fields under one umbrella, the situation becomes a veritable mess, with a host of reasoned arguments scattered across the literature. However, if you look at things more closely, focusing on specific fields (paleoanthropology, primatology, molecular phylogenetics, etc.), you should see a clear trend... or at least I did with Strepsirrhini. Each of these fields is very narrowly focused, where primatologists (who primarily study *living* primates) generally don't care much about (or even know about) fossil primates, whereas paleoanthropologists have to accommodate a much wider diversity of primates. In your case, you are very, very lucky for two reasons: 1) Molecular phylogeneticists delve into the fossil history (or at least the recent stuff), so they're slightly more mindful of that diversity. (With Strepsirrhini, the infraorder split was an order of magnitude older, so molecular phylogeneticists can only sample—and hence focus on—living primates.) 2) There are many more paleoanthropologists studying human evolution than strepsirrhine evolution. This gives them a bigger voice, and the taxonomies they favor will stand out more in a Google search. The downside, of course, is that it prevents one taxonomy from rising to the top of the pile. (With Strepsirrhini, paleoanthropologists are a miniscule minority, yet to write about Eocene primates and not make overgeneralized statements about living strepsirrhines, you need to use the systematics they favor... despite being a minority of Google Scholar and other Google searches.)

In this situation, I advise using the most encompassing taxonomy so that we can be consistent between articles about living *and* extinct species. I'm primarily interested in strepsirrhines, so I don't know what to tell you. Doing some quick searches on Google Scholar, I found the following:

  • This article (paleoanthropology) favors the use of Panini as explained on pages 31 & 32 (pages 3 & 4 of the PDF). It refers to the overuse of the term "hominid" as "traditional taxonomy" (possibly a subtle knock against the simplified taxonomy of primatologists) and claims the use of Panini emphasizes current cladistic taxonomy.
  • This article (paleoanthropology) lists two taxonomies on page 21 (page 3 of the PDF), uses Panini in (favored) Table 1a, which focuses on phylogenetics. Table 1b, however, is considered a "traditional 'premolecular' taxonomy".
  • This book (paleoanthropology) only lists a taxonomy down to Homininae, but does not list tribes. (Search "Homininae" and go to page xii.) It also focuses solely on extinct primates. This is quite typical, as many sources will not distinguish tribes.
  • This article (molecular phylogenetics) gives a radically different taxonomy (page 594, or page 10 of the PDF), which it sort of explains on the next page in Table 6. Molecular phylogeneticists will occasionally stress the need to define temporal boundaries for each rank and subrank of the Linnean taxonomic system. So if a genus is defined as having split into species starting ~6 million years ago, then chimpanzees would be placed in genus Homo with us. Of course if this approach takes hold, then the very rich human evolutionary lineage will be constrained to one genus. Although I like this approach at times, I generally view it as proof that science needs to move away from traditional Linnean taxonomy and design a new, more flexible classification system. But I digress...
  • This article (molecular phylogenetics) doesn't even bother breaking Homininae down into tribes (see Figure S1), but does for Old World monkeys. Again, a lot of articles will not touch this topic.

Note that my searches did not pull up any traditional "primatology" sources (focused solely on living great apes). This doesn't surprise me since there are very few living species, giving little reason to break things down between family Hominidae and the genera (Pan, Gorilla, and Homo)—see MSW3 for an example. For that reason, you may be luckier than I was. I didn't think about this when I started this long reply.

In summary, my advice is to follow the taxonomy in Table 1a in the article by Wood and Richmond (mentioned above) unless someone can make a stronger case. It seems to be the most flexible and generally accepted taxonomy. Once the matter is settled, I can help clean up the articles since I was slowly making my way through primate articles and switching everything to the {{Automatic taxobox}}. – Maky « talk » 19:15, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Quite frankly, I don't remember the detailed reasons I had for initially inserting Panini into the article, although I do agree that the Wood & Richmond table mentioned above does summarise what I understood to be the case. But these things aren't always definitive, and, so long as whatever we do is consistent, I have no argument. Anaxial (talk) 19:31, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I agree that it's complicated and that's why I was seeking consensus rather than just applying BRD. However the table in 1a doesn't include Gorilla's in Homininae and trifurcates Hominidae which is very non-standard from my (admittedly limited) experience. 1b is very out of date listing gorillas and chimps as Pongids. The Jaques link moves all Apes into Homininae making Gibbons a tribe and Great apes a tribe, And has chimps in the genus Homo which clearly won't work when considered in a palaeoanthropological environment. PLOS has the traditional tree butas you say gives no names below homininae. The google book puts Pan in with the Pongids and fails to mention Gorillas at all. The first article gives a good definition of the groups but leaves an issue. All the references you've provided and I've seen break the groups down the same way
  • Great Apes
  • Orangutans
  • Sumatran Orangutans
  • Bornean Orangutan
  • Black Apes
  • Gorillas
  • Eastern Gorillas
  • Western Gorillas
  • Smaller Black Apes
  • Chimpanzees
  • Common Chimpanzee
  • Bonobo
  • Humans
  • Austrilopiths
  • Homo
So I'm not sure how to reflect that cladogram across the various different group names used. SPACKlick (talk) 19:45, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
Personally, I would go with the taxonomy listed at Hominidae#Classification. It seems to be the most accommodating for living and fossil species and represents the phylogenetic history. However, the source it cites doesn't quite cover it, so one will need to be found. Again, finding a set of authoritative sources that all agree and lay down a taxonomy usable by all fields will not happen. The best we can do is find a taxonomy that is acceptable and allows the most encompassing field (paleoanthropology) to operate under our use of taxoboxes and adopted terminology. – Maky « talk » 20:54, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I am by no means an expert in this field, nor do I know what reliable sources say, but isn't there a trend towards classifying things much more by clade than by the historical fuzzy groupings? That being the case, there should never be a trifurcation, because that's not something that occurs in evolutionary history (unless there were two rafting events that took place simultaneously, or something equally unlikely!). If you're going to go down the route of classifying humans as hominini and chimps as panini, don't you still need some other term to cover the parent group that includes humans and chimps but does not include gorillas? Or do you stop reasoning about that clade altogether? Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 22:31, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Neither am I an expert, but I believe Robin Dunbar has something to say on this classification, but I would have to look it up. Neither is classification by any means a matter of universal consensus, but as far as I'm aware a whole lot has happened in the past five years, so I would suggest discounting sources older than a few years. -- CFCF 🍌 (email) 15:02, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

Conventionally, taxonomists now refer to the great ape family (including humans) as hominids, while all members of the lineage leading to modern humans that arose after the split with the LCA are referred to as hominins. The older literature used the terms hominoids and hominids respectively[1]

This is a very good point, and one I had forgotten about. However, this classification of restricting honinins to everything after the split with chimpanzees will give another taxonomy. Does someone have a source that lists it in detail? I don't have time to look this morning. – Maky « talk » 16:29, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

I agree with CFCF sources should be 5 years or less--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 11:04, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Just two cents from a randomly summoned editor, but before today I had never even heard of Panini as a grouping, only Panina. The trifurcation scheme is not one that I'd support. // coldacid (talk|contrib) 01:24, 6 April 2015 (UTC) // coldacid (talk|contrib) 01:24, 6 April 2015 (UTC) Summoned via WP:FRS; please {{Ping|coldacid}} if you respond to my comment.

<>Thank you SPACKlick, and Maky, et al, for fronting this discussion. Robin Dunbar says that "Conventionally, taxonomists now ..." refer to the great ape family as hominids, and to the humans (and closely related) subtribe, after their split from chimpanzees, as hominins. These new meanings are, even now, replacing the older terminology. Dunbar is a reliable (and a very recent) source, and here we have an authoritative start-point to edit/correct the errant Wp articles, to wit:

<>I suggest we proceed as follows.

1) Go to a key article and section---e.g., Hominidae#Taxonomic history---and insert new narrative to (briefly) explain the unsettled state of taxonomy among the professionals re humans and chimps. Explain that taxonomists are now referring to the two primate groups with revised meanings from their historical taxons; cite Dunbar (here> [2]); also cite the Australian Museum, which provides an excellent narrative of the changing terminology, including this quote:

This new terminology is being used in many scientific journals already, and it is only a matter of time (but possibly many years) before everyone catches up to using the new term. - See more at:

2) Explain that Wp uses the current 'convention' described by Dunbar---that is, that hominids refer to members of the great ape family Hominidae (which includes all the branches orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzee, and humans, extant or extinct); and that hominins refer only to the subtribe Hominina, humans and their closest relatives after splitting from chimpanzees. 3) Edit/revise Hominidae for consistency with the 'current convention'. 4) Go to the next affected article and edit for consistency; repeat, etc.

<>Seems we have what we need to proceed now with clearing this problem: revise/write consistently with the growing 'convention' until the new 'taxonomy consensus' is published by the professionals. Please respond.Jbeans (talk) 17:53, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

What you describe above amounts, it seems to me, to promoting a new and as yet not established terminology. That isn't Wikipedia's role. Of course we should discuss this usage, among all the others currently in use. But we follow, not lead. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:40, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Agreed, our method is always to report and follow the 'established norm', and to not innovate. But, our obligation is to see that the reader is correctly informed, is not misinformed, or brought to confusion---as is now the case re the taxonomy/terminology of primates, humans, chimpanzees---as currently reported on our article pages.
Presently, the 'established norm' is in disarray---there is no established terminology that most of the players use in agreement or common meaning. Should we not inform the reader of that problem?; Step 1), see my previous, would do that part, even if we do nothing else.//sorry, gotta go; pls respond.Jbeans (talk) 21:42, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
When sources disagree on terminology, we do, I agree, have a particular problem, since it's very hard to write clearly and maintain neutrality. Maybe I misunderstood what you meant by revise/write consistently with the growing 'convention' but this suggested to me that we should be adopting one convention rather than another. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:58, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
I understand and agree with your concern re Wp mustn’t choose sides when sides are competing---we merely report them and inform the reader. But, re this situation---changing terminology of the taxons among humans, chimps, etc.---there appears to be no competing per se still on. Of course when interpreting events, it's a matter of nuance (and each of us brings our own nuance)---so here is my understanding of the current situation: In paleontology/primatology, there is no longer the historical consensus on the 'established terminolgy' that once decided this question; see the at
I mean by ..growing 'convention'.. the one reported by Dunbar (nb: he did not use the term 'convention', see above). As I understand the current situation, the traditional terminology is being abandoned (in efffect) by the professionals, in favor of that 'convention' that Dunbar reported). Is this a correct interprtation?; if so, our present decision-point is not: "adopting one convention rather than another"---apparently, there is no ‘another’.Jbeans (talk) 21:19, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't think I agree with your interpretation of the situation. It depends which area of Paleontology, primatology and anthropology you read where people are drawing lines because they tend to leave as much room for further specification within the areas of interest. In all cases Panini seems to be an atypical name[3] from the reading I do which is why I was surprised by it. I think we need a wider survey of sources across the last 3 or so years to see if there is consensus, consensus by discipline or active controversy. SPACKlick (talk) 21:48, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Please let's clarify what we don't agree on. I touched on several points---but we agree on the point you specified; that is, I have not advocated (nor do I favor) the classification of chimpazees as Panini; nor have I advocated the Wood & Richmond table 1a mentioned above. Please be more specific.Jbeans (talk) 12:57, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I disagree with the following points you made
  • the traditional terminology is being abandoned (in efffect) by the professionals - Some professionals have developed more specific terminologies within some fields.
  • in favor of that 'convention' that Dunbar reported) Not all those changing preferred style are moving towards Dunbar's style although undoubtedly some are.
Crucially however no amount of editing the referent of hominid and hominin will solve the trifurcating homininae and the currently used but controversial existence of the tribe panini. SPACKlick (talk) 13:11, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I shan't argue for the points you object to; actually, my observations were derived from the general tenor of the opening discussion and the citations provided, plus the report by the Australian Museum [4]. (Btw, the quote by Dunbar (see above) seems to be more one of observing the scene rather than advocating a style; so now I must get a copy of that ref and read it for myself.) But, re solving the 'trifurcating homininae' or the 'existence of the tribe Panini', it seems we now have a paradox: if no amount of editing will help, then apparently 'we can't get there from here'.(?) Frankly, I admit I don't understand why those Wood and Richmond cites (that posit a trifurcation event without justifying same) are considered credible source(s) for a trichotomy taxonomy---but I'll not argue that either. But, maybe we could fix some plain errors; where are the other sources currently referenced on Wp pages that propose a trifurcation event or a 'tribe Panini'?

Indeed, re the lede on page Hominini, I note that one reference provided for 'the tribe Panini (chimpanzees)' [5][6] (see Bradley), seems to report the opposite, i.e., it says, "support for a human–chimpanzee clade is now overwhelming". This would imply a taxonomy (subfamily Homininae, tribe Gorillini, tribe Hominini with subtribes Panina and Hominina) that is like that described in the lede of page Chimpanzee---not the taxobox, see below; and consistent with that detailed at Hominidae#Extant. Thus the Bradley citation seems to refute (rather than support) the hypothesis for an equal trichotomy (for humans, chimps, and gorillas) with a separate 'tribe Panini'. (The second of the two refs is Wood and Richmond.)

On that (Chimpanzee) page, the Wp editor who supplied the 'tribe Panini' edit in the taxobox provided no source (see Anaxial's comment above). This edit created the (existing) on-page contradiction between the article's lede and taxobox, which even today presents inconsistent information to the reader. Can you agree to let's fix this---i.e., may I revert this Panini? Jbeans (talk) 16:47, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

I'm off the opinion we remove all uses of panini till more solid sourcing can be found because until this is settled consistency is the better part of editorial valour. SPACKlick (talk) 12:16, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I agree; and let me go first to fix the easy one! Jbeans (talk) 02:12, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
And here is the updated page 'Hominini'---a bit more involved; pls advise of any glitches. Jbeans (talk) 18:12, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
...and updated page 'Homininae'. Jbeans (talk) 05:27, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
Here is 'Chimpanzee–human last common ancestor'---updated and revised. Jbeans (talk) 15:19, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
Incoming redirects to this set of articles may need to be checked and retargeted. Hominin and human clade redirect to CHLCA , but should go to [[Hominini] based on the text of that article. Plantdrew (talk) 17:01, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for pointing to it---I've fixed it, after tripping over 'Double-Redirect'. Jbeans (talk) 11:31, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Here is Primate---minor c-e and redirect of 'hominin'. Jbeans (talk) 18:24, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Here is Human evolution, lede through 'Bipedalism'---maintenance of 'hominin', and c-e. Jbeans (talk) 04:54, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Here is Human evolution, through 'Evidence'---maintenance of 'hominin' and c-e. Jbeans (talk) 20:33, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Here is Human evolution; all sections completed re maintaining term 'hominin' (and some c-e). Jbeans (talk) 08:36, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
Here is Hominidae ---all sections completed re maintaining term 'hominin', plus c-e). Jbeans (talk) 21:00, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
Homo floresiensis and Primate ---all sections completed re maintaining term 'hominin', plus c-e). Jbeans (talk) 21:57, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Ape, aka Hominoidea ---lede and two+ sections completed re maintaining terms 'hominin' and 'hominid', plus c-e). Jbeans (talk) 05:35, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Ape, aka Hominoidea ---+section: re changing taxonomy (and re maintaining terms 'hominin' and 'hominid'; c-e). Jbeans (talk) 03:41, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Chimpanzee ---lede and 2 sections: c-e. Jbeans (talk) 23:22, 7 June 2015 (UTC)
Australopithecine ---lede: c-e. Jbeans (talk) 19:35, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
Human ---lede + sections: c-e; hominin and hominid. Jbeans (talk) 05:19, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
Omo remains ---lede + sections: c-e; here is a prospective problem for several articles out there: 'traditional' hominid competing with hominin; pls review this approach (for dealing with the problem)---and advise. Thanks. Jbeans (talk) 12:43, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
Here is Timeline of human evolution---ie, the final section, Homo: edited to maintain the correct distinctions between 'hominin' and 'hominid'. Note this section, in the first paragraph, acknowledges the existence of the opposing camps re 'the' question: Are chimps hominins? (Wp cannot answer this question). But the issue behind this question is closely connected to, although different than, the problem of consistently using the terms 'hominin' vs 'hominid' across the pages of Wp. Jbeans (talk) 04:29, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── While editing the primate-related articles (see above work-list) this editor concentrated on the 'other' question, which, rhetorically, is: Why the confusing mess across the pages of Wp re using 'hominin' and 'hominid'? (Pls don't answer that---the why is indeed rhetorical). Instead, let's discuss fixing those pages so that, at minimum, (1) Wp is internally consistent in using the two words, and (2), the reader won't be confused by these two words when reading Wp. <>So what do editors say now: Are 'hominin' and 'hominid' used consistently across Wp pages now? (For convenience, the meanings used here are):

1) hominin: those species of genus Homo and closely related extinct species that rose after the split from the line of the chimpanzees; and as described here, Hominini (at top-o-th'-lede); and

2) hominid: the taxonomic family of primates known as the "great apes", including the four extant genera---the orangutans (Pongo); gorillas (Gorilla); chimpanzees (Pan); and the humans (Homo); and as described here, Hominidae, the lede---especially beginning at "Several revisions over time ...". (The former, or traditional, use of 'hominid' is essentially the same as that of the modern 'hominin', including that it also excluded chimpanzees from within the larger name for humans and species close-to-humans.)

Please note, the soothing simplicity of fixing (these two separate) terms across multiple Wp articles is complicated by: [1] As a very practical matter, only one meaning at a time can be used on these pages for (the same) word, 'hominin', IMO; ie, the position of one of the opposing camps must, of necessity, be used in order to write Wp articles; and then, only an acknowledgement of the other position, as a practical matter, can be applied---again IMO; what's your opinion? [2] Some instances of the traditional use of 'hominid' must be protected on a page, as when the term using the traditional meaning is noted in a report or quotation---as here, Omo remains (see at bottom of the lede); note that some formatting device on the local page can illuminate the traditional usage---probably italics will do most of the time. Jbeans (talk) 05:48, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

  • (Back to the work-list indent): Here is article "Homo", the lede and first section; c-e and major rewrite here---this is a key article in the matter of "hominin" v "hominid" usage, and it is critical that it reads plainly and correctly; please advise. Jbeans (talk) 02:56, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
  • And here is "Laetoli"---which is closely linked to "Homo"---there were at least 15 corrections of hominid to hominin. Pls review and advise me of any glitches---here, or at Talk:Laetoli. Jbeans (talk) 05:27, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Here is "Hominini"---edited to correct references to "hominin". Jbeans (talk) 17:27, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Here is "Homo erectus"---c-e and major rewrite; and correcting for "hominin /hominid";--- related or linked articles, correcting for "hominin /hominid" (plus c-e) are too numerous to list here but may be viewed at my [contribs] page. //// Jbeans (talk) 18:59, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Here is "Homo ergaster"---c-e, and major rewrite; and maintaining terminology of "hominin /hominid"; this edit was closely coordinated to the recent rewrite of Homo erectus (see above). Jbeans (talk) 22:58, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

@RES2: Pls familiarize yourself with the above sorting of the Wikipedia problem re> the industry problem over usages of "hominin" v "hominid". Then say your solution. Regards, Jbeans (talk) 23:28, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

  • Here is "Middle Awash"---c-e, and major rewrite; and maintaining terminology of "hominin /hominid". Jbeans (talk) 04:02, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Here is "Afar Triangle"---c-e, and major rewrite; and maintaining terminology of "hominin /hominid". Jbeans (talk) 03:33, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Hominidae is edited to connect (by short-link) a comprehensive review of related and 'very similar' terminology re "hominin /hominid"; and to short-link to the classification of related taxons. Jbeans (talk) 21:44, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Here is "Mary Leakey"---c-e, and major rewrite; and maintaining terminology of "hominin /hominid". /// Jbeans (talk) 21:43, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Here is "Bouri Formation"---c-e, & major rewrite; & maintaining terminology of "hominin /hominid". /// Jbeans (talk) 02:05, 9 October 2015 (UTC)


If I may be so bold, I'm concluding based on this discussion that we are moving forward on not using Panini as a taxon anywhere, and that Pan is a subset of Hominini. I'll try to fix up the taxonomy templates to reflect this change, at least. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 20:54, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

I agree, with the caveat that it may need be taken back if we learn that indeed there is a quarter among the specialists who lobby for chimps as a 'separate tribe' status, ie, equivalent to Hominini and Gorillini. AFAIK, the opposing position is that chimps should be grouped as species within the Homo genus---so ok if this is actually the case. (Sorry, but must resume exile from 'wording'---imposed by outsiders---for a few more days). Jbeans (talk) 13:30, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

The problem with this is, now that things have been re-sorted, there is no article that corresponds to an extremely important referent: the human clade. May we split one off from these articles? Chrisrus (talk) 15:50, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

  • I hate to salt any old wounds, or revive a dead horse for more beating, but a lot of the presumably recent edits seem to unduly make a mess of things: Australopithecine and especially Omo remains have a lot of unnecessary bold terms in the lead, and needless pedantics (e.g. cf. this and that): if the Omo remains are Homo fossils then they are both hominids and hominins. Also, "hominins" are simply members of "Hominini"[7], just as "canids" are members of "Canidae", so the statement in Australopithecine "Members of the human clade, that is, the Hominini after the split from the chimpanzees, are now called hominins" is confusing. --Animalparty! (talk) 18:10, 23 July 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Dunbar, Robin (2014). Human evolution. ISBN 9780141975313. 
  2. ^ Dunbar, Robin (2014). Human evolution. ISBN 9780141975313. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Bradley, B. J. (2006). "Reconstructing Phylogenies and Phenotypes: A Molecular View of Human Evolution". Journal of Anatomy 212 (4): 337–353. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7580.2007.00840.x. PMC 2409108. PMID 18380860. 
  6. ^ Wood and Richmond.; Richmond, BG (2000). "Human evolution: taxonomy and paleobiology". Journal of Anatomy 197 (Pt 1): 19–60. doi:10.1046/j.1469-7580.2000.19710019.x. PMC 1468107. PMID 10999270. 
  7. ^ Bernard Wood (23 February 2015). Wiley Blackwell Student Dictionary of Human Evolution. Wiley. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-118-33574-1. 

The human clade has no article of its own[edit]

There are countless articles such as monkey that have imperfect taxon/clade overlap. Even though the human clade has no clear taxon, an independent article about the human clade should be split off from these other articles.

The article human used to say we were the last of the hominids: "the human clade", a branch of bipedal great apes.

Now it seems that there has developed imperfect semantic overlap between "hominid" and "the human clade".

The human clade doesn't have to have a taxon to be an article.

Taxa are indispensable, but clades are real referents at least as important as taxa.

The human clade is clearly one of the most important branches on the tree of life and would be well linked to from many articles elsewhere.

Just because something is a clade without a clear taxon doesn't mean that it isn't important enough to have an article about.

What do you all think about this idea?

Chrisrus (talk) 23:02, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

But how is the "human clade" distinct from, say, Homo? And do any sources use "human clade" as a distinct term? FunkMonk (talk) 23:39, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
How about this: From "The Social Conquest of the Earth" by Edward O. Wilson: "Chimpanzees and bonobos have an evolutionary history reaching back six million years, the estimated time when their line split from the human clade." Chrisrus (talk) 23:46, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
So what you mean is the clade that excludes chimps? And again, is this group widely mentioned as a group in the literature, and as synonymous with that definition? FunkMonk (talk) 23:51, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
The human clade is a bipedal branch of great apes.
Here is another source:'the%20human%20clade%22&f=false
So again, that seems to be defined as a clade that excludes chimps? We need to be able to define something before we can make an article about it. FunkMonk (talk) 00:28, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
Just useless food for thought here, but isn't it time for everyone to live as one yet? If not, carry on trying to agree on a better idea. InedibleHulk (talk) 01:30, June 13, 2015 (UTC)
Again, The human clade is a bipedal branch of the great apes. As you know, we are the last of them, but there have been many others both on our sub-branch and other sub-branches. Chimps primarily knuckle-walk and aren't part of the human clade because their knee joint and pelvis shapes and so on. Chrisrus (talk) 06:36, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
Seems reasonable enough, if it can be defined without cherry-picking just the sources that treat it as "the bipedal branch of great apes". If, say, two definitions emerge, we'd have to cover both of them, and it might be more of a WP:CONCEPTDAB.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:30, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
What beyond the above citations would allay these concerns? Chrisrus (talk) 14:45, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
For my part, just avoiding WP:UNDUE. What do most of the recent-ish peer-reviewed sources say in their secondary material (literature reviews)? Two sources isn't much to go on. (I'm a cultural anthropologist by training; while I'm interested, I have no physical anthropology "dog ape in the fight".  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:10, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

My understanding, without referring back to sources, is that taxonomically the clade including humans and all things more closely related to humans than to chimpanzees is (the subtribe) Hominina. Anthropological classifications often disagree with this excluding chimpanzees from hominina. The article human should cover this and point to an article, possibly called "Early humans" which describes it in detail. SPACKlick (talk) 14:36, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

But look where these links direct: Hominina and early human. Chrisrus (talk) 06:04, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
So create new content if you feel there's something missing.SPACKlick (talk) 09:45, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
So you support merging from these articles a new human clade article, but only grudgingly. Is that correct? Chrisrus (talk) 19:55, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
I support the creation of an article for the human clade. I would propose calling it "The Human Clade" until a better name is found per commonname and redirecting Hominina to it. There's no grudging about it. SPACKlick (talk) 09:35, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
The term Hominina is probably more widely used than "human clade", so no, it should not be redirected to the latter. Hominina is more inclusive, so cannot redirect to a less inclusive term. FunkMonk (talk) 09:41, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Hominina currently has no article. The article "The human clade" has slightly different scope from the scope Hominina would in theory but it would be the article closest to the same scope (using one of the two common definitions of hominina)
Human clade is within the scope of Hominina, therefore it should redirect there, and an article be created for the latter. FunkMonk (talk) 11:16, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
I disagree that the scope is entirely contained. Either way. I have no interest in creating the article and would leave the choice of which scope the article is written about to the creator of the article. SPACKlick (talk) 12:03, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
I would lean away from having a separate article. I think the answer to FunkMonk's question, if I'm not mistaken, is that Hominina is not quite the same as "crown clade humans" because it doesn't include Australopithecina. Is that correct? AFAICT we have no single article for the human crown group (since Hominini includes Pan). But I don't think making a new article about a taxon that is not normally used is really the best way to resolve this. It would be a rehash of what's in Homo and Australopithecina, wouldn't it? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 21:12, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I wouldn't say that. There is a group commonly talked about that is everything more closely related to you than to a chimpanzee. It's just that various disciplines refer to it in different ways making any name have the right scope be tricky. SPACKlick (talk) 08:37, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Note: the article Chimpanzee–human last common ancestor may be relevant, if the "human clade" is defined as everything on the human lineage since the CHLCA. --Animalparty-- (talk) 21:27, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
The human clade is a bipedal branch of the great apes; the CHLCA knuckle-walked. Chrisrus (talk) 23:56, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Sorry I missed this discussion until now. If it's not too late, I'd like to chime in, particularly since I've had to deal with situations like this (and worse) when writing about lemurs. (Yes, lemur taxonomy, and particularly that of strepsirrhines is worse.) "Semantic overlap" due to conflicting taxonomies is nothing new, and is notoriously difficult to deal with. The stance I have taken (after several discussions at WP:Primate with strepsirrhines) is that if paleoanthropology and primatology/anthropology conflict in their taxonomies, then the most inclusive (as in # of taxa considered) wins, regardless of usage. The reasoning is that Wiki articles about living primates will use different terminology than articles about extinct primates, causing confusion for readers. Therefore the need for consistent terminology takes precedence—which flies easier for less popular topics, like lemurs, versus more popular topics, like humans.

As for having an article for the "human clade", I think Homo (with Hominina redirecting to it is perfectly sufficient. However, I'm working off the taxonomy presented in Wood & Richmond, 2000 (page 21). They use:

Superfamily Hominoidea ('hominoids')

Family Hylobatidae
Genus Hylobates
Family Hominidae ('hominids')
Subfamily Ponginae
Genus Pongo ('pongines')
Subfamily Gorillinae
Genus Gorilla ('gorillines')
Subfamily Homininae ('hominines')
Tribe Panini
Genus Pan ('panins')
Tribe Hominini ('hominins')
Subtribe Australopithecina ('australopiths')
Genus Ardipithecus
Genus Australopithecus
Genus Paranthropus
Subtribe Hominina ('hominans')
Genus Homo

It appears that here on enWiki, we've favored having a clade name for orangutans over one for upright apes. The taxonomy we chose shifts the contents of Homininae to include gorillas and by putting Pan in a subtribe. Once again, I suggest considering what is most important for consistency on Wikipedia and base the taxonomy we use on that. (In other words, which is more important: having a clade name for orangutans or one for humans? In fact, these divergent focuses are probably the reasons for the two conflicting taxonomies.) No matter which way we go, writers for these articles will have to translate their sources, just as I have had to translate my sources when I write about strepsirrhines. Waiting for a clade name to emerge in the literature will be fruitless. Those who focus on human cladistics will refer to the clade as Hominina ("hominans"), while those who favor the other taxonomy (primatologists) will use various names for it. It sucks, but that's the curse dealing with Linnaean taxonomy in the age of phylogenetics. – Maky « talk » 07:17, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

I will also note that regardless of which taxonomy is used, all related articles need to include the competing taxonomies with citations, as I have done for the major lemur and strepsirrhine articles. This is not optional since it will lead to more informed discussions about issues like this. – Maky « talk » 07:23, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

If it's a choice over a clade for the orangutans or the human clade, I'd like to argue for the latter. Many important thinkers agree that "What does it mean to be human?" is one of the most important questions of all. We can help answer this question in terms of the bare scientific facts at articles such as human and so on better by having a word for the human clade because the shortest answer to this question we've had to date is "Humans are the last of the (hominids)." So the loss of a word such as "hominid" to refer to the branch of bipedal great apes helps by allowing us to give this question a good short answer.
So if it's all the same and we can choose we'd be well advised to err on the side of aiding the more important question. Chrisrus (talk) 15:22, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree with you. However, as I carefully noted above, if we go down this route, all taxonomies (including the pre-molecular taxonomy included in the source I provided) should be included and discussed in each relevant article. (In other words, don't just edit one article. If the consensus supports this, then you have to do them all.) Furthermore, all discussion of "hominids", "hominins", etc. will require translation from the sources, since the terms will mean different things based on the taxonomy the source is using. Again, this is unavoidable, regardless. – Maky « talk » 16:54, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

I just want to make sure we're all talking about the same thing here (note: I've largely ignored the previous discussion about Panina, Homininae, etc.). Reliable sources seem to indicate that the "human clade" is indeed everything on the human side of the evolutionary tree since the CHLCA (which may or may not have knuckle-walked, see e.g. Sahelanthropus): Wood (2010) states "The fossil record of the human clade consists of fossil evidence for modern humans plus that of all extinct taxa to be more closely related to modern humans than to any other living taxon".[1] I think this is a more accurate, descriptive and less falsifiable description than simply a "bipedal branch of the great apes". Wood also mentions that some researchers use "Hominini" for Pan + human clade, with human clade in hominina, while others use "Hominini" for just the human clade.[1] Wood earlier took the latter view: "Hominini, and its 2 component subtribes, the Australopithecina and the Hominina"[2] Thus, if we want to write an article on "the human clade", expanding Hominina would seem the most appropriate place (see list of taxa in Homininae#Taxonomic_classification), to avoid conflict with Hominini (broad sense) which, as presently written on Wikipeia, includes Pan. The next best option would be to create an article that unites (the articles) Australopithecine and Homo --Animalparty! (talk) 17:41, 23 July 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b Bernard Wood (2010). "Reconstructing Human Evolution: Achievements, Challenges, and Opportunities". In the Light of Evolution:: Volume IV: The Human Condition. National Academies Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-309-15657-8. 
  2. ^ Wood, Bernard; Richmond, Brian G. (2000). "Human evolution: taxonomy and paleobiology". Journal of Anatomy 197 (1): 19–60. doi:10.1046/j.1469-7580.2000.19710019.x. 

Merge proposal[edit]

Disregard: Merge did not proceed.

Please see Talk:Race (biology)#Proposal: Merge to Breed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:32, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Boldface binomial in lead[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere

This discussion may be of interest to this project: WT:Manual of Style/Lead section#Bold text for organisms.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:06, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Taxobox colors and accessibility[edit]

Due to some recent discussions about MOS:ACCESS and its requirements for WP:COLOR combinations compliant with the WCAG AAA standard for text accessibility, it occurred to me to check the taxobox color scheme. It appears to have a few issues. Please see this discussion for some proposed (mostly minor) changes. Thanks! Opabinia regalis (talk) 03:47, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Merge Neontology and Extant taxon[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere

See section here:[1] Both are tiny stubs, and cover the same subject. We don't have an "extinct taxon" article either. FunkMonk (talk) 06:56, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Equus caballus africanus listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]


An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Equus caballus africanus (including all 48 synonyms of horse). Please participate in the redirect discussion if you have not already done so. -- Tavix (talk) 17:14, 3 August 2015 (UTC)


Many articles are not categorized by year of description. I can't find the relevant information so I presume this is the right place to ask. Is it necessary to do so, and if yes, should all species (in theory) be categorized if they aren't? I'm using HotCat, so it should be relatively easy for me to work quickly. The Average Wikipedian (talk) 13:20, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes, I suppose they should. Have at it! Chrisrus (talk) 12:29, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
@Chrisrus: Thank you. Where can I find the relevant guidelines? I see that sometimes they are categorized by "Moths described in...", "Fish described in..." (which only has two categories for some reason) and "Insects described in..." but I can't don't know what needs categorization into which category and how many different kinds of these "described in" categories there are. The Average Wikipedian (talk) 13:48, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

Use of Unicode dagger symbol for extinct taxa[edit]

Is there any kind of off-WP guidance/convention with regard to the use of the cross or dagger symbol for extinct taxa, as in "†Tryannosaurus rex"? Questions coming to mind about usage include:

  • What are the principle sources on this, and does usage differ from field to field?
  • Is it always one specific glyph, "†"? (That's Unicode † "Dagger" U+2020 [2], HTML named character entity &dagger;, numeric character reference &#8224; or &#x2020;. Not to be confused with Unicode ✝ "Latin Cross" U+271D [3], HTML numeric character reference &#10013; or &#x271d;. They may look very similar in some fonts, especially if the dagger does not have a pointed tip.)
  • Is it always prefixed? (I think this is "yes".)
  • Is it always unspaced from the name? (If so, is there any objection to thin-spacing or hair-spacing it, when the taxon is not italicized, for better readability? Examples: "†Unspacedae", "† Thinspacedae", "† Hairspacedae".)
  • Is it always outside the italicization of a binomial/trinomial? (I think the answer must be "yes", because all other interpolations/additions to bi-/trinomials are non-italicized.)
  • Is it always done in normal font size, or conventionally superscripted (Tryannosaurus rex), or sometimes subscripted, or something else? (I would hope that superscripting is at least permissible, since use inline with a non-italicized taxon, e.g. "†Sauropodomorpha", is going to be difficult in some fonts for non-native readers of alphabetic languages to distinguish from a prefixed "t".)
  • Is its use limited to first occurrence, or only in lists/tables, or only in contexts where living and extinct taxa appear in the same material, never in running prose, always at every occurrence, or ...?
  • Is it only used with formal taxa in biological nomenclature, or can it be used with informal ones, such as race (biology), landrace, breed, form (zoology), morph (zoology) ? If it's limited to formal taxa, are there levels to which it does not apply (e.g. cultivar, form (botany), etc., in cultivated plant nomenclature, which are formal but without formal equivalents in zoology)?
  • If it's not conventionally used except for formal taxa, do any of the nomenclature codes forbid its use more broadly?

I'd probably think of others, but these are the main ones that come to mind.

It seems to me the ideal display would be superscripted in front of an italicized taxon, which leans away from the dagger (Tryannosaurus rex) and superscripted and hair-spaced in front of a non-italicized taxon ( Sauropodomorpha). If superscripting is not liked (†Tryannosaurus rex) then thin-spacing away from the non-italicized taxon would probably work († Sauropodomorpha). But this is probably worth looking at in different browsers and OSes; I haven't fired up my collection of virtual machines for this yet. Whatever the cases that turn out best, it could be handled with the template for this, e.g. {{extinct|Tryannosaurus rex|i=y}}, {{extinct|Sauropodomorpha}}. (The present {{extinct}} does nothing but generate the dagger character, and prevent it from being italicized or boldfaced, but I can easily recode it to handle the formatting requirements based on whether the taxon is italicized or not, without breaking the extant just-the-dagger usage.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:50, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

Problems with inconsistency of use have been brought up before, for example:[4] FunkMonk (talk) 05:58, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

WikiProject X pilot testing[edit]

Hello WikiProject Tree of Life!

Based on the recommendation of Snow Rise, I am happy to announce that WikiProject X has selected this project as part of a round of pilot testing.

The goal of WikiProject X is to improve the WikiProject experience through research, design, and experimentation. On that basis, we've prepared a new WikiProject design template based around modules. These modules include features you are already familiar with, such as article alerts, but also new features such as automated work lists, a feed of discussions taking place on the 421 talk pages tagged by WikiProject Tree of Life, and a new member profile system. To see what this new setup looks like, you can browse the first round of pilot tests: WikiProject Cannabis, WikiProject Evolutionary biology, WikiProject Ghana, WikiProject Hampshire, WikiProject Women's Health.

If there is consensus among the participants of this WikiProject, I will proceed with implementing this interface based on the current contents of Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life. Please let me know if you have any questions or requests. Harej (talk) 23:05, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

Hmm...I like what WikiProject X has done Evolutionary Biology, but I think WP:TOL is pretty different from the other project WikiProject X has tackled so far. WP:TOL is essentially a meta-project; the talk page here serves as a centralized discussion for issues which concern a dozen plus more or less active projects that largely focus on articles about species (and other taxonomic ranks) of organisms. The 421 talk pages tagged for WP:TOL aren't really the focus of TOL. It's the 300,000+ articles with a species microformat that are more relevant. WikiProject X seems to be providing some useful tools that (in my opinion) it would be nice to have available to some of the TOL descendant projects. I'm not convinced it's particularly worthwhile to deploy those tools for the 421 TOL tagged pages (but I'm not opposed to it). Maybe it's worth looking into how the WikiProject X tools can be deployed for descendant projects in both a centralized (TOL) and decentralized (individual descendant project) way? Plantdrew (talk) 07:15, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
That is a good point. Are there any particular WikiProjects you recommend? Harej (talk) 16:09, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

Which synonyms in taxoboxes?[edit]

I was wondering if we, in addition to validly published junior synonyms and alternate combinations, are also "allowed" to include invalidly published names and pre-Linnean names? For example, the pre-Linnean binomial Cygnus cucullatus for the dodo, and the nomen nudum Munifelis (published in a newspaper) for Smilodon? FunkMonk (talk) 19:20, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

What I've seen done is invalid names included, but unitalicised and in quotation marks, which I've at least seen before in the literature (on dinosaurs iirc). Seems sensible enough to me, if the invalid names are of historical importance or have been erroneously treated as valid names. —innotata 19:38, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

Prototheria and yinotheria[edit]

Back in December, prototheria was blanked and redirected to yinotheria. A Google search (and a much longer write up of the results - details on prototheria's talk page) makes it clear to this non-expert that reports of prototheria's demise have been exaggerated, so I restored the article. My knowledge of taxonomy is far from perfect, and would appreciate some more knowledgeable editors taking a look. It's probably a good idea to consolidate the discussion on the prototheria talk page. (See also the WP:Paleontology talk page).--Wikimedes (talk) 04:51, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Extinction date disappeared from taxoboxes?[edit]

I just noticed that the extinction date listed in the taxoboxes of recently extinct animals, such as dodo, do not show anymore, though the text is still there (| extinct = c. 1662). Anyone know what's up? FunkMonk (talk) 01:08, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

As far as I can see, {{Speciesbox}} has never passed the value of |extinct= upwards, merely using the presence of a non-empty value to insert † by the species name. So the date would have disappeared from the dodo taxobox with this edit, which replaced {{Taxobox}} by {{Speciesbox}}. I've now fixed {{Speciesbox}}.
In my view, it's bad practice (or at least bad style) to use a parameter both as a boolean (|extinct=yes meaning "extinct") and as a non-boolean (|extinct=c. 1662 meaning "extinct, c. 1662"). I suspect that this is what caused the creator of {{Speciesbox}} to forget that the value needed to be passed upwards. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:11, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Cool, thanks! FunkMonk (talk) 13:24, 5 October 2015 (UTC)