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Taxonomy question relating to humans

DakotaKrafick
Posts: 1,517
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3/24/2013 3:17:16 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
A friend of mine on facebook who I hold in high regard made a lengthy post to counter that dumb "atheist teacher vs christian student" story I'm sure many of us are familiar with. (He's a patient guy; otherwise, he wouldn't have bothered refuting it in such depth for the hundredth time.)

Anyway, I agreed with most of what he had to say. All of it actually, except for one small thing: "Humans ARE monkeys. Specifically, we are a KIND of monkey, closely kin with the other african apes. ALL current species of monkey share a common NON monkey ancestor in our past. We did not evolve "from monkeys"."

Now, my research into such topics has been by no means cursory, but neither has it been entirely conclusive. On one hand, I see many o' sources saying A while on the other, I see many o' sources saying B. It was my understanding that humans are not monkeys, but hominoids or apes. I raised my objections, partly because I actually wanted him to counter what I said with sources, which he did*.

But I'm still not entirely convinced (or even sure I fully understand). I told him I'd have to research further into the topic and get back to him, but by that I meant to consult the experts here on DDO. I do this not because I'm lazy and can't Google, but because as I've said, I get very divided opinions from source to source and I can't tell who's right or wrong.

My questions to those who know a lot more about taxonomy than I do are these:

(1) What are the differences between monkeys, apes, and hominoids?
(2) Which of those classifications do humans fall under, and which do humans not?
(3) Are monkeys and apes mutually exclusive?

I appreciate any help you can offer.
DakotaKrafick
Posts: 1,517
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3/24/2013 3:18:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
*The two sources my friend provided to show that humans are, indeed, monkeys AND apes are the youtube video here and the wordpress blog post below.

http://paolov.wordpress.com...
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,286
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3/26/2013 11:45:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Don't use common names, that's where the problem is coming from. When you are talking about taxonomy only the official names are really useful, as the common names mean different things to different people. Reindeer moss and Spanish moss aren't moss. Asparagus fern is neither asparagus, nor is it a fern.

Start thinking of primates in terms of the accepted classifications and things will make a lot more sense, even though a paradigm shift may be in order.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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3/28/2013 5:42:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 3:17:16 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
"Humans ARE monkeys. Specifically, we are a KIND of monkey, closely kin with the other african apes. ALL current species of monkey share a common NON monkey ancestor in our past. We did not evolve "from monkeys"."

That has to be wrong. We and the other apes are descended from a common ape ancestor. We did evolve, therefore, from apes. Now, we have other, more distant non-ape ancestors that we evolved from, but the most recent common link was an ape.

It would be very strange indeed for us not to have a common ape ancestor. It would take an astonishing amount of parallel evolution for us all to evolve into apes if we didn't any of us start as apes.
wiploc
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3/28/2013 5:55:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I believe that hominids are "man tending" apes. Thus, since we are already men, we are no longer tending towards becoming men, so I assume we aren't hominids.

To be a hominid, you'd have to be between humans and our common most recent common ancestor with chimps.

Since apes are monkeys, we are monkeys, and we have common ancestors with monkeys, and we have plenty of common non-monkey ancestors, but our most recent common ancestor (with monkeys) was also monkey.
wiploc
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3/28/2013 6:03:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 5:55:11 PM, wiploc wrote:
I believe that hominids are "man tending" apes. Thus, since we are already men, we are no longer tending towards becoming men, so I assume we aren't hominids.

To be a hominid, you'd have to be between humans and our common most recent common ancestor with chimps.

That'll teach me to mouth off before looking it up. According to Wikipedia, "hominids has two usages. One usage includes humans, and chimps (including bonobos) and gorillas and orangutangs. (Next, I'm going to look up "great apes" to see if that means the same thing.)

The other usage includes anything between chimps and humans. This usage does not include humans, but does include (according to wikipedia) species on the Chimpanzee branch. I'm skeptical.

Aha, see, this time I looked before posting: Great Apes are the same as the broader definition of Hominids, because if you try to look up "Great Apes" you redirect to the hominid page.
APB
Posts: 267
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3/29/2013 1:49:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 3:17:16 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
A friend of mine on facebook who I hold in high regard made a lengthy post to counter that dumb "atheist teacher vs christian student" story I'm sure many of us are familiar with. (He's a patient guy; otherwise, he wouldn't have bothered refuting it in such depth for the hundredth time.)

Anyway, I agreed with most of what he had to say. All of it actually, except for one small thing: "Humans ARE monkeys. Specifically, we are a KIND of monkey, closely kin with the other african apes. ALL current species of monkey share a common NON monkey ancestor in our past. We did not evolve "from monkeys"."

Now, my research into such topics has been by no means cursory, but neither has it been entirely conclusive. On one hand, I see many o' sources saying A while on the other, I see many o' sources saying B. It was my understanding that humans are not monkeys, but hominoids or apes. I raised my objections, partly because I actually wanted him to counter what I said with sources, which he did*.

But I'm still not entirely convinced (or even sure I fully understand). I told him I'd have to research further into the topic and get back to him, but by that I meant to consult the experts here on DDO. I do this not because I'm lazy and can't Google, but because as I've said, I get very divided opinions from source to source and I can't tell who's right or wrong.

My questions to those who know a lot more about taxonomy than I do are these:

(1) What are the differences between monkeys, apes, and hominoids?
(2) Which of those classifications do humans fall under, and which do humans not?
(3) Are monkeys and apes mutually exclusive?

I appreciate any help you can offer.

Primate classification goes somewhat like this...

Primates => Lemurs + "dry-nosed primates".

Dry-nosed primates => Tarsiers + "higher primates".

Higher primates => New World monkeys + "non-flat-nosed primates".

NFN primates => Old World monkeys + Apes.

Apes => Gibbons + Great Apes/Hominids

Great Apes/Hominids => Orangutans + Hominins

Hominins => Gorillas + Chimps/Humans

Chimps/Humans => Chimpanzees + Humans

To relate it back to your question, apes are monkeys in the same way that birds are reptiles: they evolved from that group and are more closely related to some of its members than all the members are to each other. It's more a failure of language that separates them.