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Any member of the zoological family Hominidae (order Primates), which consists of the great apes (orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos) as well as human beings. Formerly, only humans (with their extinct forebears) were categorized as hominids, and the great apes were categorized as pongidsthat is, members of the primate 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. As a result, it has become more common among zoologists to consider humans and great apes to be hominids. See alsohominin.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on hominid, visit Britannica.com.