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

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Thu Apr 30 11:11:14 CDT 2009

While I understand Ken's desire to make a classification of everything, the postings such as the one below would seem to be pretty worthless because they lack information on how they were arrived at. And there is no way of knowing what particular fossil fragments the names are supposed to represent (very problematic as they are sometimes incompatible or dissociated fragments). They are just a list of names. It seems to be putting the cart before the horse.

Why should recognizing Kenyanthropus necessarily make australopiths paraphyletic? I'm not aware that Kenyanthropus has any demonstratable relationship other than possibly being a member of a human-orangutan clade and possibly a hominid.

As for 'Homo' floresiensis, any such taxonomic placement would be nonsensical. Its original placement in Homo was for propaganda purposes only (as publicly admitted by one of the authors), and certainly was not demonstrated in the original paper, or any since. As for linking it with H. erectus - one can have an opinion but not one that has any substance.

At least the list did not include Sahalanthropus or Ardipithecus - equally nonsensical hominids.

John Grehan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Kenneth Kinman
> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 11:05 AM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: [Taxacom] New classification of Hominidae (incl. the "hobbit")
> 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
> controversy.
>        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.
> rudolfensis
>                    2  H. h. habilis
>                    3  {{H. erectus +
> H. sapiens}}
>             _a_ Homo erectus%
>                     1  H. e.
> georgicus
>                     ?  H. e.
> floresiensis ("hobbit")
>                     2  H. e.
> ergaster
>                     3  H. e. erectus
>                   _a_  {{Homo sapiens}}
>            _a_ Homo sapiens
>                     1  H. s.
> antecessor
>                     B  H. s.
> cepranensis
>                     2  H. s.
> heidelbergensis
>                   _a_  H. s.
> neanderthalensis
>                     3  H. s.
> rhodesiensis
>                     4  H. s. idaltu
>                     5  H. s. sapiens
> ----------------------------------------------
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