|hominid (hŏm'ə-nĭd) Pronunciation Key
Any of various primates of the family Hominidae, whose only living members are modern humans. Hominids are characterized by an upright gait, increased brain size and intelligence compared with other primates, a flattened face, and reduction in the size of the teeth and jaw. Besides the modern species Homo sapiens, hominids also include extinct species of Homo (such as H. erectus) and the extinct genus Australopithecus. In some classifications, the family Hominidae also includes the anthropoid apes.
in zoology, one of the two living families of the ape superfamily Hominoidea, the other being the Hylobatidae (gibbons). Hominidae includes the great apes-that is, the orangutans (genus Pongo), gorillas (Gorilla), and chimpanzees and bonobos (Pan)-as well as human beings (Homo). Formerly, humans alone (with their extinct forebears) were placed in Hominidae, and the great apes were placed in a different family, Pongidae. However, morphological and molecular studies now indicate that humans are closely related to chimpanzees, while gorillas are more distant and orangutans more distant still. Since classification schemes aim to depict relationships, it is logical to consider humans and great apes as hominids, that is, members of the same zoological family, Hominidae. Within this family there are considered to be two subfamilies. One (called Ponginae) contains only the orangutans, and the other (Homininae) contains humans and the African great apes. Subfamily Homininae in turn is divided into two "tribes": Gorillini, for the African great apes and their evolutionary ancestors, and Hominini, for human beings and their ancestors. Following this classification, members of the human tribe, that is, modern human beings and their extinct forebears (e.g., the Neanderthals, Homo erectus, various species of Australopithecus), are frequently referred to as hominins.
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