Hominoid evolution: synthesizing disparate data

David PILBEAM & Nathan YOUNG

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 3 (4) - Pages 305-321

Published on 31 July 2004

This article is a part of the thematic issue The first hominids

Genetic studies have demonstrated that humans and chimpanzees are sister taxa, with gorillas, orangutans and gibbons successively more distant. Hominoid similarities suggest that the crown ape ancestor was a suspensory, frugivorous, tropical forest ape. The common ancestor of Pan and Gorilla would likely have been Pan-like. It is therefore likely that the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans was also Pan-like, and lived in Late Miocene Africa. But it is possible that most if not all Miocene apes are unrelated to crown hominoids. More fossils are urgently needed from within the probable Later Neogene geographical range of the living ape clades. Recent discoveries of very early hominids from Chad raise interesting questions about this hypothesis.


Character selection, molecular clock, parallelism, paleogeography

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