Sunday, July 22, 2012

Emergence of Hominids

The Hominoidea is divided into three families - hylobatidae includes gibbons and siamangs,Pongidae includes gorillas,chimpanzees and orangutans and Hominidae includes humans.It is considered that humans ( hominids) and great aps( pongids) share a more common ancestor than either does with gibbons and siamangs(hylobatids).

Fossil evidence from Egypt suggests that hylobatids separated from pongids between 38 and 25 million years ago.The divergence between the great apes and humans took place later between 25 and 8 million  years ago ( Miocene Pliocene period).The most widespread and well known Miocene apes were seven species belongings to a fossil sub family known as Dryopithecinae.

The Dryopithecine fossils have a lower teeth cusp pattern which distinguishes hominids from old world monkeys.The upper and lower molars of old world monkeys have only four cusps arranged in two parallel rows with a deep groove between them.The lower molars in hominids have five cusps separated.

Studies suggest that rather than humans evolving from a moneky like ancestor contemporary monkeys would have descended from an early branch of hominoid line.Dryopithecus major the  largest of Miocene ape might have been the early ancestor of gorilla and chimpanzee could have descended from a small Miocene ape known as Dryopithecus africanus.

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