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

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Thu Apr 30 16:59:24 CDT 2009

Dear All, 
       Well, if everyone agrees with John Grehan that my
classifications are "pretty worthless", then maybe I should just stop.
But I wouldn't post them if I didn't believe they would provide a useful
new viewpoint (at least for some workers) compared to other available
classifications. As for Sahelanthropus and Ardipithecus, simply
referring to my primate classification (which I reposted here last week)
shows that I place those two genera (as well as Orrorin) within Family
Pongidae as immediate outgroups to Family Hominidae. But I guess John
thinks that classification was "pretty worthless" as well. As for
Kenyanthropus platyops, some workers think it is simply a synonym of
Australopithecus afarensis. I include it because others think that it
could be a valid species even closer to something like Australopithecus
africanus or A. garhi. Either way, Kenyanthropus would make
Australopithecus paraphyletic (and in my opinion, unnecessarily so).
Just do a google search for Kenyanthropus, and you can easily find
relevant literature and discussions. 
        As for the "hobbit" (floresiensis), whether it's
assignment was originally for propaganda purposes (or not) does not mean
an assignment to Homo is thus automatically wrong. Therefore, to label
my provisional assignment as "nonsensical" is itself totally
nonsensical. If John wants to express his opinion that floresiensis is
closer to Homo habilis or some part of genus Australopithecus, he is
welcome to do so.  But offhand, I recall no evidence that those
earlier-evolving taxa ever left Africa, whereas Homo erectus georgicus
is obviously in Eurasia. And as I noted, early members of Homo erectus
(sensu lato) had relatively small brains (which wouldn't have had to
shrink much to become the size of the hobbit's brain). It makes sense to
me, and I am not alone in thinking so. If John thinks this idea has no
substance, then maybe he should present his own alternative placement. 
           -------Ken Kinman 
P.S. In summary, I do think the classifications I post here are
worthwhile even if they usually don't go into detail what I based them
on. These are not published, so they shouldn't be simply judged as
"alchemy" just because some people are accustomed to being spoonfed all
the details and literature. The internet makes it pretty easy to find
relevant literature and discussions if you're really interested enough
to take the time to explore it. 
John Grehan wrote: 
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
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 

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