Re: Hominoids and hominids

James Murphy (jmurphy@MAGNUS.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU)
Fri, 16 Feb 1996 12:11:52 -0500


I understand this. As I said (or implied), hominid means <of> the family
(Hominidae); hominoid means <like> the family (Hominidae). Knowing the root of
the suffix helps keep the distinction between family and superfamily clear in
this instance.

Similarly, "pectinid" describes a mollusc of the family Pectinidae; "pectinoid"
would refer to a clam that is pectin-like but not necessarily a member of the

The form of adjective doesn't always conform with the scientific nomenclature
but often enough to be useful, I think.

Jim Murphy

> Hominoid means member of the Superfamily Hominoidea (all living and
> fossil apes and humans). Hominid means member of the Family Hominidae
> (usually humans and fossil humans). Using DNA studies, many
> palaeoanthropologists argue that Hominidae should include African apes
> and humans, only subdividing them at the Subfamily level. Pam Willoughby