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You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

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You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!
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AronRaContributorUser avatarPosts: 522Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:47 pm

Post You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

I got into an argument on Twitter over whether or not humans or apes could be considered monkeys. Of course I shared the link to video where I explained all this in detail. My interlocutor says he watched it, but everything he says proves he hasn't seen it.



I gave the monophyletic definition of monkey as "any member of the clade, Anthropoidea, also known as Simiiformes". He has not responded to this and would not provide any definition of his own. Instead he misrepresented my position by saying "try calling canids felids and see how that works for you".

But I'm not trying to call canids felids; I'm arguing that we can call canids dogs. He says that referring to anthropoids or catarrhines as monkeys is "generating confusiion" and that anthropoid is "a perfectly good word". For a scientist, yes; for a science communicator, no. No one knows what an anthropoid is, just like they don't know what a canid is. We can call them dogs and we can call them monkeys. I argue that we can use the colloquial term consistently, monophyletically.

Fifteen years ago, I was where he is. I used the same arguments he does for the same reason. Then I was embarrassed to realize that I'll call myself a primate and I'll call myself an ape, but I had a special exception for monkey because I had been taught an erroneous indefensible arbitrary tradition that we don't consider apes to be monkeys. It's a quirk that only happens in English, and there is no reason for it to happen at all.

Since I find it impossible to have such a discussion as this on Twitter, where the words we're using are too long for that venue, Hackenslash suggested we bring it here. So here I am.
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:14 pm
leroyPosts: 1754Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:30 pm

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Sure, if you redefine the term "monkey" in order for it to mean something that by definition includes humans then yes we are monkeys.




but 99.99999% of the time when people use the term monkey they mean "not a human" if you randomly select 100 articles that contain the term monkey, you will note that in most cases the term monkey is referred as something that doesn't include humans, only in a very specific context it could be said that humans are monkeys.
"events with a zero probability happen all the time"
Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:23 pm
AronRaContributorUser avatarPosts: 522Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:47 pm

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

leroy wrote:Sure, if you redefine the term "monkey" in order for it to mean something that by definition includes humans then yes we are monkeys.

but 99.99999% of the time when people use the term monkey they mean "not a human" if you randomly select 100 articles that contain the term monkey, you will note that in most cases the term monkey is referred as something that doesn't include humans, only in a very specific context it could be said that humans are monkeys.
We commonly contrast humans and animals, knowing full well that humans ARE animals. The same thing applies here. I did not redefine the word. I'm using the same definition it always had. I'm just not imposing arbitrary paraphyletic or polyphyletic rules to it just to defend some indefensible tradition.

I maintain that it is the tradition that is causing confusion. For example, if you refuse to accept that apes could be descended from monkeys, then you have to redefine what the common ancestor of cercopiths and hominoids was. It can't be a monkey anymore; it has to be a stem primate or something like that. Likewise, you can't even accept the logically inescapable realization that the common ancestor of Old World monkeys and New World monkeys must have been a monkey itself. So what these people do is they ignore the fact that apidium and other basal simiiformes were commonly considered monkeys by all the experts, and you have to pretend that Platyrrhines and Catarrhines arose from a common source that was somehow not any monkey itself, and not a monkey anymore either-since it obviously had to have descended from Parapithicoidea. So using monkey as a paraphyletic or polyphyletic grade is what causes confusion in both scientists and the laity. But using the word correctly, consistently and monophyletically as I do clears all that confusion right up.
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:35 pm
leroyPosts: 1754Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:30 pm

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

AronRa wrote:
leroy wrote:Sure, if you redefine the term "monkey" in order for it to mean something that by definition includes humans then yes we are monkeys.

but 99.99999% of the time when people use the term monkey they mean "not a human" if you randomly select 100 articles that contain the term monkey, you will note that in most cases the term monkey is referred as something that doesn't include humans, only in a very specific context it could be said that humans are monkeys.
We commonly contrast humans and animals, knowing full well that humans ARE animals. The same thing applies here. I did not redefine the word. I'm using the same definition it always had. I'm just not imposing arbitrary paraphyletic or polyphyletic rules to it just to defend some indefensible tradition.

I maintain that it is the tradition that is causing confusion. For example, if you refuse to accept that apes could be descended from monkeys, then you have to redefine what the common ancestor of cercopiths and hominoids was. It can't be a monkey anymore; it has to be a stem primate or something like that. Likewise, you can't even accept the logically inescapable realization that the common ancestor of Old World monkeys and New World monkeys must have been a monkey itself. So what these people do is they ignore the fact that apidium and other basal simiiformes were commonly considered monkeys by all the experts, and you have to pretend that Platyrrhines and Catarrhines arose from a common source that was somehow not any monkey itself, and not a monkey anymore either-since it obviously had to have descended from Parapithicoidea. So using monkey as a paraphyletic or polyphyletic grade is what causes confusion in both scientists and the laity. But using the word correctly, consistently and monophyletically as I do clears all that confusion right up.



like any other word, the term monkey has many definitions, there is not such thing as a "correct definition".............however in most cases both in science and academic contexts and in lay man contexts the term monkey is referred as something that does not include humans.
"events with a zero probability happen all the time"
Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:46 pm
AronRaContributorUser avatarPosts: 522Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:47 pm

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

It seems my interlocutor doesn't want to come here. He doesn't want to engage where we can type complete sentences full of big words, where we can take turns in a sensible exchange. He only wants to troll on Twitter.
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:48 pm
SparhafocPosts: 1507Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

My take on this is a bit different.

While I appreciate that it's sometimes easier to use language just for its convenience, I think there are times when lazy usage results in more confusion than is necessary. As language is hopefully intended to communicate ideas clearly, I think there's always room to question whether any given term is appropriate.

Scientifically, humans are neither monkeys nor apes because neither really represents a true taxonomic rank, phylogenetic relationship, or any systematized definition based on genetic and morphological features.

In many languages, the translation for the word 'monkey' is the same as the word for 'ape'. For example, in French they are both 'singes' and in Thai they are both 'ling'... and it was when I kept hearing the latter and kept reacting to it by saying things like 'hey, monkeys have tails' that I realized I was falling foul of semantics, rather than having semantics work for me. Today, I would rather say 'In English, the term is usually 'ape' but many more people probably use the wrong word, and neither is scientifically accurate'. Given that Thais call whales 'fish', there are quite literally bigger fish to fry than semantic quibbles about the relationship between a word in English and a word in the language of science.

As neither ape nor monkey are valid phylogenetic terms, then I think the question of what to call them depends primarily on the nature of the conversation. If you're chatting with a friend who's got no background whatsoever in cladistics, phylogeny or defining species by morphology and genes, and they use the word 'monkey' then there's really no reason to call them out for it. They've communicated their idea and you get it, the rest is just pedantry that is, shockingly for me to say, not pedantry worthy of the time spent addressing it. Gah, I shudder even suggesting that pedantry isn't always worthwhile! :D

However, from a cladistics point of view when discussing scientific topics, or debating undereducated Creationists who need to be corralled into reality prior to being able to have a conversation, then I think it's well worth employing and, in turn, demanding the usage of the appropriate terms. They love picking and choosing the arena to their advantage, particularly crafting neologisms to evade the import of religiously contentious scientific topics. So I refuse to let them. If they think they can talk science, then they have to learn to speak to the language.

As such, and of course this isn't pointed at AronRa who would undoubtedly run rings around me when it comes to listing nested phylogenies (I can actually picture this happening with him running round me chanting in super-fast AronRa speed :D ), humans are hominoid (and hominids, but let's leave that one aside for simplicity), hominoidea being the valid taxonomic group, and homonoidea has the added benefit of being a term that is expressly monophyletic. Hominoids are anthropoids (to use a term that's less in vogue now than when I studied this a couple of decades ago) or better still all haplorhines, and all haplorhines are primates and all primates are mammals and so on.

To me, this presents a much more coherent way to communicate with people who are familiar with the jargon, or who have the capacity to understand the power and utility of phylogenetic classification, plus it has the added benefit of being unarguably correct, insofar as we know. And they're always welcome to come up with a better system if they ever get out of the 1st century.

However, I also think it's fair to say that if someone saw any haplorhine other than the very earliest, they'd automatically say it was a monkey because it is that Platonic monkey form that also inspires the Creationist 'kind'. If they saw the earliest haplorhines and knew a bit about biodiversity today, they might say it's a tarsier. As such, it's just a fucking minefield, and while I think pedantry is a virtue, it can also be tiresome to the wrong people very easily. Tiresome to the right people - great! :D
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
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Last edited by Sparhafoc on Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:42 pm
SparhafocPosts: 1507Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

leroy wrote:Sure, if you redefine the term "monkey" in order for it to mean something that by definition includes humans then yes we are monkeys.




but 99.99999% of the time when people use the term monkey they mean "not a human" if you randomly select 100 articles that contain the term monkey, you will note that in most cases the term monkey is referred as something that doesn't include humans, only in a very specific context it could be said that humans are monkeys.



99.99999% of the time is 100%, or so I've been told by many an admirable mathematician.

Regardless, that 99.999999 whatever percent that you made up on the spot to serve your argument is clearly only relevant to the general public. In relevant scientific disciplines, you can bet that not one scientist uses the term 'monkey' to mean 'not human'. As such, were we to define which is 'right' here, then clearly its the latter group as it's the only one of the two that has a formalized systematic approach to classification. However, as we don't expect the general public to possess all knowledge of all scientific disciplines, and as the general public are going to be talking about whatever they want anyway, then it's hard to ever declare something 'wrong' if it's ubiquitously used. Obviously, education would be awesome, and it'd be nice if our every day speech was more rigorous, but given that it's not, I think it's similarly fine to accept any word so long as both signaller and receiver communicate the same informational content.
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
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Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:49 pm
SparhafocPosts: 1507Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

leroy wrote:like any other word, the term monkey has many definitions, there is not such thing as a "correct definition".............however in most cases both in science and academic contexts and in lay man contexts the term monkey is referred as something that does not include humans.


I still have to point out that it's a very low bar you set.... if it's even raised off the floor at all.

Perhaps there's not a single 'correct' definition, but there can certainly be 'incorrect' definitions.
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
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Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:52 pm
leroyPosts: 1754Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:30 pm

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Sparhafoc wrote:
leroy wrote:Sure, if you redefine the term "monkey" in order for it to mean something that by definition includes humans then yes we are monkeys.




but 99.99999% of the time when people use the term monkey they mean "not a human" if you randomly select 100 articles that contain the term monkey, you will note that in most cases the term monkey is referred as something that doesn't include humans, only in a very specific context it could be said that humans are monkeys.



99.99999% of the time is 100%, or so I've been told by many an admirable mathematician.

Regardless, that 99.999999 whatever percent that you made up on the spot to serve your argument is clearly only relevant to the general public. In relevant scientific disciplines, you can bet that not one scientist uses the term 'monkey' to mean 'not human'. As such, were we to define which is 'right' here, then clearly its the latter group as it's the only one of the two that has a formalized systematic approach to classification. However, as we don't expect the general public to possess all knowledge of all scientific disciplines, and as the general public are going to be talking about whatever they want anyway, then it's hard to ever declare something 'wrong' if it's ubiquitously used. Obviously, education would be awesome, and it'd be nice if our every day speech was more rigorous, but given that it's not, I think it's similarly fine to accept any word so long as both signaller and receiver communicate the same informational content.



I accept the bet......

1 go to google scholar

2 type "monkey" in the search engine

My bet is that 99% of the academic articles are using the term monkey to mean something that doesn't include humans
"events with a zero probability happen all the time"
Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:22 pm
SparhafocPosts: 1507Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

leroy wrote:I accept the bet......

1 go to google scholar

2 type "monkey" in the search engine

My bet is that 99% of the academic articles are using the term monkey to mean something that doesn't include humans



Firstly, I am not your whipping boy to send to do your errands. I don't care about your confidence level, only whether what you assert can be substantiated, so get cracking lad!

Secondly, have you really not grasped my discursive competence? Do you think you can manage to pull a bait and switch on me... a shifting of the goalposts... when I am expressly focused on what you previously claimed?

Well, I never.

Ok, I will spell it out to make sure it's there publicly for all to see.

Originally you said:

but 99.99999% of the time when people use the term monkey they mean "not a human"


And it's now changed subtly to:

My bet is that 99% of the academic articles are using the term monkey to mean something that doesn't include humans


Useful to engage in such obfuscation if you can get away with it, but it doesn't shine a very positive light on your motivations if you think you can pull off such a blatant deception.

This might have something to do with your almost fanatical intent to discuss the notion of Creationist dishonesty with me even when I'd already rejected any generalization.... it's because you've had the accusation pointed at you after pulling a stunt like the above.

However, I operate under the principle of Hanlon's Razor, so I will now accept your acknowledgment and apology for the idiocy of that blatant bait and switch.


Of course no one means humans when they say 'monkey' - was anyone arguing that? Of course not. Obviously, when they use a label for X, they mean X and not Y. That's how words work and shit.

However, it's a very different kettle of fish to claim that people using the term monkey expressly mean something that doesn't include humans. As you've just been informed, all haplorhines would be considered monkeys in lay terms, and guess what? Humans are unarguably haplorhines, ergo your ridiculous appeals to percentages of naive and undereducated populations mistakenly assigning pseudo-phylogenetic classifications are shown to be nonsensical as they're all grounded on semantic wibble. What actually matters is what they are and what we are, and that's descendents of a fairly recent common ancestor.

And this brings us back to the point I made earlier to the esteemed Mr Ra. This is why you hammer Creationists into using the correct terminology, because if you don't then will wriggle and writhe and ooze into every crack available. And I see no reason to let them.
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
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Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:27 pm
Gnug215ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2561Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:31 pm

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

leroy wrote:
like any other word, the term monkey has many definitions, there is not such thing as a "correct definition".............however in most cases both in science and academic contexts and in lay man contexts the term monkey is referred as something that does not include humans.


Well hey! Looks who's now advocating definitional precision and accurate semantics!

While you are technically correct, what you're saying kinda translates to: "Nobody uses the term 'avian', they say 'duck'!"
- Gnug215

YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Gnug215


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Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:17 am
SparhafocPosts: 1507Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Gnug215 wrote:Well hey! Looks who's now advocating definitional precision and accurate semantics!

While you are technically correct, what you're saying kinda translates to: "Nobody uses the term 'avian', they say 'duck'!"



Ahh yes, humpty-dumptyism is only for humpty dumpty himself!
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
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Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:25 pm
leroyPosts: 1754Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:30 pm

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Gnug215 wrote:
leroy wrote:
like any other word, the term monkey has many definitions, there is not such thing as a "correct definition".............however in most cases both in science and academic contexts and in lay man contexts the term monkey is referred as something that does not include humans.


Well hey! Looks who's now advocating definitional precision and accurate semantics!

While you are technically correct, what you're saying kinda translates to: "Nobody uses the term 'avian', they say 'duck'!"


the difference is that this particular thread is about "definitional precision and accurate semantics",


"definitional precision and accurate semantics" is the main point of the thread.
"events with a zero probability happen all the time"
Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:23 pm
SparhafocPosts: 1507Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

leroy wrote:the difference is that this particular thread is about "definitional precision and accurate semantics",


"definitional precision and accurate semantics" is the main point of the thread.



“When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking-Glass, 1872
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
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Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:05 pm
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatar
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Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Image


What else needs to be said?

AronRa wrote:He only wants to troll on Twitter.


A troll on twitter? Say it is not so...
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Gnug215ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2561Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:31 pm

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

leroy wrote:the difference is that this particular thread is about "definitional precision and accurate semantics",


"definitional precision and accurate semantics" is the main point of the thread.



I'm thinking you're the one that made it about "definitional precision and accurate semantics".


Because here's how AronRa started the thread:
AronRa wrote:I got into an argument on Twitter over whether or not humans or apes could be considered monkeys.
- Gnug215

YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Gnug215


The horse is a ferocious predator.
Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:16 am
Nesslig20User avatarPosts: 260Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:44 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

AronRa wrote:
leroy wrote:Sure, if you redefine the term "monkey" in order for it to mean something that by definition includes humans then yes we are monkeys.

but 99.99999% of the time when people use the term monkey they mean "not a human" if you randomly select 100 articles that contain the term monkey, you will note that in most cases the term monkey is referred as something that doesn't include humans, only in a very specific context it could be said that humans are monkeys.
We commonly contrast humans and animals, knowing full well that humans ARE animals. The same thing applies here. I did not redefine the word. I'm using the same definition it always had. I'm just not imposing arbitrary paraphyletic or polyphyletic rules to it just to defend some indefensible tradition.

I maintain that it is the tradition that is causing confusion. For example, if you refuse to accept that apes could be descended from monkeys, then you have to redefine what the common ancestor of cercopiths and hominoids was. It can't be a monkey anymore; it has to be a stem primate or something like that. Likewise, you can't even accept the logically inescapable realization that the common ancestor of Old World monkeys and New World monkeys must have been a monkey itself. So what these people do is they ignore the fact that apidium and other basal simiiformes were commonly considered monkeys by all the experts, and you have to pretend that Platyrrhines and Catarrhines arose from a common source that was somehow not any monkey itself, and not a monkey anymore either-since it obviously had to have descended from Parapithicoidea. So using monkey as a paraphyletic or polyphyletic grade is what causes confusion in both scientists and the laity. But using the word correctly, consistently and monophyletically as I do clears all that confusion right up.


leroy wrote:like any other word, the term monkey has many definitions, there is not such thing as a "correct definition".............however in most cases both in science and academic contexts and in lay man contexts the term monkey is referred as something that does not include humans.


It is true that you can use words the way you want to use, that is semantics. But semantics aside, I would propose that a definition is more useful (or more correct) then another definition if it is more consistent. The word "monkey" is used the doesn't include people, but it does include baboons and howler monkeys. It may not seem this way to the ordinary average human, but baboons have more things in common with humans than it has with howler monkeys (the former two are Catarrhines and the later one is a Platyrrhine). Therefore it erroneous to say that humans doesn't belong in the same category as the other two are (simians).
The only way you can exclude humans as monkeys, is by redefining the word that no longer includes the "old world" monkeys and only includes the "new world" monkeys. Which has been tried by scientists saying old world "primates" instead of monkeys. AronRa has pointed this arbitrary decision out in his video.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
Charles Darwin
Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:11 pm
AronRaContributorUser avatarPosts: 522Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:47 pm

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

he_who_is_nobody wrote:
Image
Thank you. This makes my point. Even when I'm talking to scientists, I find that some of them think that hominid still means what Hominin means now. They don't know that Hominid means "any member of Hominidae" now. But if I say apes, then most everyone gets it.

Likewise this chart equates platyrrhines and catarrhrines with monkeys, and how could their common ancestor not be a monkey also? The clade, anthropoidea, AKA Simiiformes means--essentially--monkeys of one branch or another, and everyone seems to get that. The only "confusion" (if we can fairly call it that) comes when someone was classically trained in Linneaen grades which simply don't apply anymore, now that everything is monophyletic. Those people will find whatever passionate pejoratives necessary to deny that any of our ancestors were in fact identified as monkeys--by professional paleoprimatologists--and that consequently that label still applies to us.
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:57 pm
thenexttodiePosts: 799Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:59 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

leroy wrote:Sure, if you redefine the term "monkey" in order for it to mean something that by definition includes humans then yes we are monkeys.
.


The best evidence of darwinian evolution is the fact we are able to categorize things.
“..the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” Tolstoy
Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:13 pm
SparhafocPosts: 1507Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Grist for the mill:

http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/phyl ... -2012.html

Humans aren't monkeys. We aren't apes, either.
18 Mar 2012

I don’t know why so many people who accept and promote evolution have such a dim view of phylogenetic systematics.

How else to explain why I so often hear the canard, “Humans are apes”?

My children can tell what an ape is. I work very hard to tell them why apes are different than monkeys. When they see a chimpanzee in a zoo, and other parents are telling their kids, “Look at the monkey!”, my children say, “That’s not a monkey, it’s an ape!”

Phylogeny is the relationship among different species. Phylogenetic systematics argues (among other things) that our taxonomy should reflect phylogeny. The result in anthropology is that we have rejected some taxonomic ideas. In the past, many anthropologists categorized chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans together as “pongids”. Today, we recognize that these are not a natural group. Phylogenetically, humans are part of the group that includes orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas. Many anthropologists call this group “Hominidae”, although others would put this at a different taxonomic level than the family level (the level implied by the “idae” ending).

None of this is especially controversial. We disagree about the taxonomic level – some would retain “hominid” to refer to the human branch, and assign the great apes and humans to a higher-level taxonomic level. But the phylogeny is perfectly clear. Humans are hominoids, and hominids, and anthropoids, and primates.
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
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Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:00 am
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