A hominoid, sometimes known as an ape, is a member of the superfamily Hominoidea, which includes gibbons (lesser apes, family Hylobatidae) and hominids. A hominid is a member of the great ape family Hominidae, which includes orangutans, gorillas, chimps, and humans. Humans are distinguished from other hominids by several unique features of their anatomy and physiology that set them apart from other primates.
Human evolution can be divided into two main phases: a primitive australopithecine-like phase and a more modern human-like phase. Early hominins such as Australopithecus africanus and A. afarensis were small in size, had relatively short legs, and probably spent most of their time in trees. They used stone tools made by others to break off chunks of rock and wood for meat. Modern humans began to evolve about 2 million years ago (mya), probably in Africa. By 1 mya they were using spears instead of rocks to kill animals, and by 0.5 mya they were scavenging animal carcasses instead of killing them for food. By this time they were also developing culture, creating art, and learning how to make weapons. Over the next 700,000 years, there were many changes in human behavior as our species evolved. Some groups became dependent on hunting while others continued to gather food. Some developed language and tools while others stayed closer to their basic primate form.
Apes (Hominoidea) are a group of 22 species of primates. Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons are examples of apes, often known as hominoids. Although humans are categorized as Hominoidea, the name "ape" refers to all non-human hominoids rather than humans. Apes are unique among the primates because their closest living relatives are other primates—not other animals.
The living hominoids are classified into three families: the Hylobatidae (gibbons), the Pongidae (orangutans), and the Hominidae (gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans). Although the superfamily started in Africa, it evolved across Africa and Eurasia. None of the families is restricted to a single continent today, but all have lost their ability to fly.
In addition to these families, two other groups have been included in the superfamily in the past: the Pitheciidae (pithecs) and the Atelidae (New World monkeys). However, recent research has shown that they are not closely related to the Hominidae and were therefore removed from the superfamily list. Today, only the Hominidae remain as the sole member of the Hylobatidae family.
The term "hylo-" means "wood" and "bat" refers to their unique sound structure which includes large bones used for making noise. This group of animals was named after the hylobatids, who were early primates that appeared about 20 million years ago in Asia and Europe. They lived in tropical forests then, just like modern day gibbons. Over time, some species developed larger brains than others, allowing them to adapt to different lifestyles. Eventually, they arrived in North America where they survived by eating fruits and seeds and spreading information using vocalizations.
A hominine is a member of the Homininae subfamily, which includes gorillas, chimps, and humans (excluding orangutans). Humans are unique among hominoids because of their intelligence and technological ability. Humans also differ from other apes in many other ways, such as our larger brains and bodies, more complex social structures, and longer childhoods. These differences are evidence that humans evolved from other members of the genus Homo.
Ornithologists classify birds into groups called orders. The order Primates contains two families: Lemuriformes, which includes lemurs; and Catarrhini, which includes monkeys and humans. Within the Primate Order there are three classes: Chordata, which contains frogs, fish, and reptiles; Marsupials, which include opossums, kangaroos, and wallabies; and Placentalia, which includes humans and our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees and gorillas.
People usually say that humans are a part of the primate order but not the whole thing. That's because although we share some similarities with other primates, we also have differences too. For example, humans are diurnal while most primates are nocturnal. Also, unlike primates who eat fruit and plant material, most people eat meat, eggs, and vegetables.