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hominid, hominin, hominoid, human

The broadest of the terms is hominoid, which refers to members of the superfamily Hominoidea, both present and past. Today it comprises humans, the gibbons, and the great apes (orangutan, chimpanzee, and gorilla).

As taxonomic classification changes with new molecular findings, modern humans and their ancestors are referred to by either of these two terms: hominid (traditional classification) and hominin (new classification). Hominin is the preferred term.

Traditionally humans and their ancestors have been classified as the family Hominidae (thus hominid). A new classification system, taking into account the close relationship between humans and chimps, places orangutans, gorillas, and chimps together with humans in the family Hominidae (hominids); chimps and humans in the subfamily Homininae (hominines); and humans in the tribe Hominini (hominins). Also, according to this system, australopithecines become australopiths.

(For more details see Wood, Bernard, and Brian G. Richmond, "Human Evolution: Taxonomy and Paleobiology," Journal of Anatomy [2000], vol. 1966, 19-60.)