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Hominid

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Definition: Hominid is a general term used consistently by archaeologists and paleontologists for humans and any member of the species of animal we are most closely evolved from, including Homo neanderthalensis, Australopithecus, and Ardipithecus.

A fossil ape is identified as a human ancestor, in general, if it stood on two legs (was bipedal), and had relatively smaller teeth and bigger brains than the rest of the apes. As you might imagine, there is a great deal of debate over which creatures are our ancestors. Many paleontologists have begun using the term Hominin for this group, which is not exactly a synonym.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

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