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Temporal occurrence
Upper Miocene up to now (recent)
7 to 0 million years
  • Worldwide
Partial order : Monkey (anthropoidea)
without rank: Old World Monkey (Catarrhini)
Superfamily : Human (Hominoidea)
Family : Apes (Hominidae)
Subfamily : Homininae
Tribe : Hominini
Scientific name
Gray , 1824

As Hominini one is the tribe of the family of great apes (hominids), respectively. This tribe includes the species of the genus Homo including humans living today ( Homo sapiens ) and the extinct ancestors of this genus, but not the common ancestors of chimpanzees and Homo . The only non-extinct species of hominini is humans. Belonging to the Hominini is called hominin , belonging to the great apes (Hominidae) as hominid .


In addition to the species of the genus Homo, the following genera are now counted among the hominini :

For terminological confusion, provides that in the older and younger occasionally in the literature, the term hominid within the meaning of hominin is used. This is done against the background that the taxonomists to the 1980s, the taxonomy of Linnaeus followed that only orangutans , gorillas and chimpanzees in the family of great apes together (Pongidae) and that the family of Real People (Hominids; eingedeutscht: Hominids, hence hominid ) - with Homo sapiens as the only living species. However, based on genetic comparisons, it was later shown that chimpanzees and gorillas are more closely related to humans than to orangutans. Therefore, humans, chimpanzees and gorillas along with all their fossil ancestors were combined to form a common taxon ( homininae ) and this was placed next to the taxon of the orangutans (ponginae).

Position of the two subfamilies Ponginae and Homininae and the Hominini in the family tree of the family of great apes (hominids).
Pongo = orangutans ; Gorillas ;
Pan = chimpanzee ; Homo = people

In order to terminologically differentiate the ancestral line of humans from that of chimpanzees and gorillas (which at the same time preserved the traditional special position of humans in the family tree of species), some paleoanthropologists introduced the tribus hominini (humans plus ancestors) as a further subdivision , as well as the tribus gorillini ( Gorillas plus ancestors) and panini (chimpanzees plus ancestors); individual scientists - differently - summarize the gorillas, the chimpanzees and both ancestors under the term panini .

Alternatively, individual researchers assign the chimpanzees with humans and their ancestors to a common taxon, whereby this taxon is also called hominini by them - which can lead to considerable irritation ; man and his ancestors are then assigned to a subtribe hominina .

The anthropologist Volker Sommer noted in this context - albeit with very low percentages:

“The really consistent step is pending. Depending on the markers selected, geneticists calculate that Homo and Pan differ from a maximum of 2 to a minimum of 0.6 percent (while an average of 4 percent is between human men and women ...). If the genetic makeup of beetles differed by such fractions, they would certainly not be assigned to alternative genera . Thus, the requirement to expand our genus is entirely appropriate - by renaming chimpanzees to Homo troglodytes and bonobos to Homo paniscus . "

Timeline of the hominini genera

The genera of the hominini:
The chronological sequence does not allow
any conclusions to be drawn about their family relationships.


Common characteristics of the hominini are the upright, two-legged gait and the associated anatomical features, which represent deviations from the basic construction plan of the primates (primates):

  • Lengthening of the rear extremities and transforming them into walking legs
  • Reshaping of the rear feet by lengthening the metatarsal bones , shortening the toes and increasing the loss of the ability of the big toe to be exposed
  • Considerable redesign of the pelvis , enlargement of the pelvic shovels to accommodate larger loads and changed shape of the hip joints
  • Enlargement of the birth canal to adapt to the increased brain volume of the newborn
  • Redesign of the hands of the front extremities into organs for grasping objects (instead of climbing ) by shortening the metacarpal bones
  • increasing flattening of the chest

See also


Web links


Individual evidence

  1. “The tribe that includes modern humans and all the fossil taxa more closely related to modern humans than to any other living taxon.” Bernard Wood : Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Human Evolution. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4051-5510-6 .
    Similarly, in 2012 the definition for hominins in Science (Volume 336, No. 6081, 2012, p. 538.) was: “the group that includes humans and our ancestors but not other apes.” Also in New Scientist (Volume 216, No. . 2892 of November 24, 2012, p. 34): "... hominins, the group that includes us and all our extinct relatives from after the split [from the chimps.]"
  2. Gerhard Heberer had, inter alia, in Anthropologie - Das Fischer Lexikon (Fischer Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt 1970, p. 39 ff.) Compared the Australopithecines as the "most structurally primitive human hominids" with the "higher hominids" and "referred to them as homininae " . "To emphasize the 'genuinely' human, one can use the prefix 'Eu': (Eu) Homininae." This resulted in the Germanization of "real people", which was later occasionally used as a paraphrase for the hominini, but today in scientific discourse is only related to the genus Homo .
  3. Bernard Wood, Nicholas Lonergan: The hominin fossil record: taxa, grades and clades. In: Journal of Anatomy. Volume 212, No. 4, 2008, pp. 354–376, doi: 10.1111 / j.1469-7580.2008.00871.x , full text (PDF; 292 kB) ( Memento from October 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  4. ^ A b c Bernard Wood, Terry Harrison : The evolutionary context of the first hominins. In: Nature . Volume 470, 2011, pp. 347-352, doi: 10.1038 / nature09709
  5. In a supplement to New Scientist dated November 6, 2010, Tim White explained, for example , that he continues to use hominid in the sense of hominin for the immediate ancestors of humans [“to classify all the members of the human clade (on our side of the last common ancestor we shared with the chimps) "], because this is a long-established name for this clade and he generally advocates terminological clarity through" stability "(" I prefer the stability and clarity ... ").
  6. ^ Morris Goodman et al .: Toward a phylogenetic classification of primates based on DNA evidence complimented by fossil evidence. In: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Volume 9, No. 3, 1998, pp. 585-598, doi: 10.1006 / mpev.1998.0495 .
  7. David R. Begun : The Age of the Great Apes . In: Spectrum of Science . Dossier 01/2004: Human evolution II. P. 8.
  8. Pasqual Pic: The evolution of man. In: Spectrum of Science. Dossier 01/2004: Human evolution II. P. 17.
  9. ^ Roy John Britten : Divergence between samples of chimpanzee and human DNA sequences is 5%, counting indels. In: PNAS . Volume 99, No. 21, 2002, pp. 13633-13635, doi: 10.1073 / pnas.172510699 .
    Anna Wetterbom, Marie Sevov, Lucia Cavelier, Tolmas F. Bergström: Comparative genomic analysis of human and chimpanzee indicates a key role for indels in primate evolution. In: Journal of Molecular Evolution. Volume 63, No. 5, 2006, pp. 682-690, doi: 10.1007 / s00239-006-0045-7 .
  10. Volker Sommer: Plea for a radical evolutionary anthropology: great apes like us. In: Biology in Our Time. Volume 30 (= issue 3/2009), p. 200.