[ hom-uh-nin ]
/ ˈhɒm ə nɪn /
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noun Anthropology, Zoology.
any member of the group consisting of all modern and extinct humans and their immediate ancestors, specifically members of the tribe Hominini.


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See also hominid.

Origin of hominin

First recorded in 1985–90; from New Latin Hominīnī, equivalent to Latin homin- (stem of homō ) “human being, man” + -īnī (plural of the adjective suffix -īnus indicating origin or affiliation); see origin at Homo, -ine1)

historical usage of hominin

Is it hominid or hominin ? At one time, scientists classified all apes (which include us humans) into three families, one of which was Hominidae, the family of hominids, defined as humans and their direct ancestors. Over time, as we came to better understand the genetic relation between modern humans and great apes, the classification shifted to just two families: Hominidae, now comprising humans grouped with the great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans), and Hylobatidae, comprising the lesser apes (gibbons).
In the more recent classification scheme, representing a further refinement in genetic grouping, Hominidae has two subfamilies, one of which, Homininae, includes humans, gorillas, and chimpanzees (but excludes orangutans). The subfamily Homininae then separates into three distinct branches or tribes, with humans in the Hominini tribe—thus designating humans (and their direct ancestors) as hominins. All human ancestors, for example, with the genus name Homo are hominins, including Neanderthals ( Homo neanderthalensis ), Homo habilis, and Homo erectus.
Footnote: By comparing the old and new scientific classifications of humans, we can see that the original definition of hominid and the definition of the newer term hominin are essentially the same. It is the new classification that has given hominid its recently adopted broader meaning.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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