In the late 1950s and early 1960s, before the methodology of cladistics was defined and the genetic analysis of relationships in the human
234 hippoturtleox family tree became possible, it was the established practice to classify humanlike primates (Hominidae) separately from apelike primates (Pongidae). Two classic works of cryptozoology dealing with sightings of hairy, primitive-looking creatures were written in this transitional period by Bernard Heuvelmans (On the Track of Unknown Animals, 1958) and Ivan T. Sanderson (Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life, 1961). Traditionally, human beings (genus Homo) and their ancestors all the way back to Australopithecus were placed in the Hominidae, and the great apes (except the gibbons) were classed in the Pongidae. Some of the writers who have consulted these works have not updated the terminology and the concepts that underlie the new taxonomy, which may be confusing.
Molecular studies have shown that modern Humans (Homo sapiens) shared a common ancestor with Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Gorillas (Gorillagorilla) only about 7-5 million years ago. Because 98 percent of the DNA of modern humans and chimps is more or less the same and that of gorillas is nearly so, many anthropologists have placed the African apes and humans in the same subfamily (Homininae) of the Hominidae. At the present writing, all primates are divided into three suborders—the Prosimians (lemurs, lorises, and bushbabies), the Tarsiiformes (tarsiers), and the Anthro-poidea (monkeys, gibbons, orangutans, African apes, and humans).
There is still no complete consensus on the various branches of the human family tree, but anthropology is resilient and can accommodate multiple hypotheses until clear evidence is uncovered. However, this can be confusing at first to those who haven't kept up to date with taxo-nomic theory.
For example, bipedalism was at one time stressed as a hominid characteristic, but the apelike nature of upright australopiths has called this into question. The discovery of tool use among chimps and other animals has also led to downgrading primitive toolkits as exclusively human. A complex brain and the capacity for structured speech remain two of the major characteristics that humans have over apes. After further molecular work is done, one of the following scenarios will most likely be adopted: (1) humans and australopiths will stay in the Hominidae, and everything not quite so bipedal will go to the Pongidae; (2) chimps and gorillas will join humans in the Hominidae, while Sivapithecus and the Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) will be reserved for the Pongidae; or (3) the DNA linkage will become overwhelming, all the apes will stay with their cousins the humans in the Family Hominidae, and the Pongidae will be abandoned.
For cryptozoology, which does not have the luxury of examining crania, mandibles, and femurs (not to mention the DNA that orders their construction), it seems more practical to call anything walking on its hind legs a hominid. Anything that seems uncomfortable with bipedalism (no matter how brainy it seems or what toolkit it's using) will get conservatively lumped into an unknown PRIMATE category, deferring for the time being its proper classification.
Mystery hominids and hominid-like creatures:
Cannibal Giant Flying Humanoid, Giant Hominid, Hairy Biped, Least Hominid, Lit-tie People, Lizard Man, Marked Hominid, Monkey Man, Neo-Giant Proto-Pigmy, Shorter Hominid, Small Hominid, Sub-Hominid, Sub-Human, Taller Hominid, TRue Giant Wildman.
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