[Taxacom] New classification of Hominidae (incl. the "hobbit")

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Thu Apr 30 10:05:21 CDT 2009

Dear All, 
      I proposed a classification (and phylogeny) of
Australopithecus here on taxacom several years ago, but did not tackle
genus Homo at that time. I guess it is time for me to take the plunge
and try to at least begin to classify genus Homo in a way that clarifies
what we do know (and what we don't know) in a way that minimizes
confusion and maximizes stability and understanding as we move forward.
      This classification might make strict cladists more
comfortable, since Australopithecus is only singly paraphyletic (whereas
recognizing Paranthropus made it doubly paraphyletic). Paranthropus
(three "robust" species) is here treated as clade 3, and therefore a
species group (not even a subgenus).  Kenyanthropus (species platyops)
is also not recognized, which would have actually made Australopithecus
triply paraphyletic. Oversplitting too many genera) leads to
unnecessarily complex paraphyly which just generates confusion and more
       Where to place the "hobbit" (floresiensis) is still
problematic. It is almost certainly NOT a tiny or diseased Homo sapiens.
It could conceivably be a new species of Australopithecus, but to me it
seems more likely a subspecies of either Homo habilis or Homo erectus.
Below I am preliminarily classifying it in a clade along with the
primitive subspecies Homo erectus georgicus (which also possesses a
relatively small brain). Anyway, given that so many hominid fossils are
fragmentary (and thus controversial), the classification below is just
my best present effort to offer a framework to understand where we are
now and where future new hominid fossils might fit into our ancestry.     
              -------Ken Kinman 
 Family Hominidae 
      1 Australopithecus%
              1  A. anamensis
              2  A. afarensis
              ?  A. platyops
              3  A. aethiopicus
            _a_  A. boisei
              B  A. robustus
              4  A. africanus
              5  A. garhi
              6  {{Homo}}  
   _a_  Homo
             1  Homo habilis%
                   1  H. h.
                   2  H. h. habilis
                   3  {{H. erectus +
H. sapiens}} 
            _a_ Homo erectus%
                    1  H. e.
                    ?  H. e.
floresiensis ("hobbit")
                    2  H. e.
                    3  H. e. erectus
                  _a_  {{Homo sapiens}}  

           _a_ Homo sapiens
                    1  H. s.
                    B  H. s.
                    2  H. s.
                  _a_  H. s.
                    3  H. s.
                    4  H. s. idaltu
                    5  H. s. sapiens 

More information about the Taxacom mailing list