Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

just idle curiosity, really

The accumulation of small heritable changes within populations over time.

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Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#1  Postby proudfootz » Jul 15, 2017 6:13 pm

Sparked by a post in a totally unrelated thread, I recalled that AronRa published an opinion that seemed to be what I thought he termed 'controversial' regarding the taxonomy of humans.



I have no real knowledge of all this either by profession or vocation.

Is this a big deal that people get upset about?
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#2  Postby Animavore » Jul 15, 2017 6:35 pm

You think that's bad? According to Neil Shubin (the guy who found Tiktaalik) we're still fish. Only fish which are adapted to land.

The argument makes perfect sense to me, but I had a heated debate with an older person in Glasgow last year about it. I just put it down to paradigms shifting one funeral at a time. :grin:
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#3  Postby proudfootz » Jul 15, 2017 6:45 pm

Hm. I might draw the line at fish, but maybe I shouldn't.
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#4  Postby Animavore » Jul 15, 2017 6:51 pm

proudfootz wrote:Hm. I might draw the line at fish, but maybe I shouldn't.

He was being a bit humorous. "Fish" is problematic because there's all types of things called fish which aren't fish. We're more properly called chordates.

According to some phylogenecists we're still everything that came before us. All species are nested into each other like those Russian dolls, if those dolls could branch out.
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#5  Postby theropod » Jul 15, 2017 6:55 pm

Not quite dead yet and I agree entirely. Not only do I agree, I made a similar case for birds being maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs right here on this forum. I didn't put my case forward as eloquently as AronRa, but oh well, ya gets what yez pays for.

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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#6  Postby Calilasseia » Jul 15, 2017 7:12 pm

In short, you are the product of your ancestors.
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#7  Postby tuco » Jul 15, 2017 8:30 pm

Cool story. I was recently told: No-one here is a monkey. So I guess I got reply for next time it happens: You are a fucking monkey! instead of hairless. Cool.
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#8  Postby Thommo » Jul 15, 2017 8:56 pm

Animavore wrote:You think that's bad? According to Neil Shubin (the guy who found Tiktaalik) we're still fish. Only fish which are adapted to land.

The argument makes perfect sense to me, but I had a heated debate with an older person in Glasgow last year about it. I just put it down to paradigms shifting one funeral at a time. :grin:


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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#9  Postby zoon » Jul 15, 2017 10:24 pm

I think AronRa is making a case that the word "monkey" should change its meaning to reflect modern cladistics. The word "monkey" is currently most often used as excluding apes and humans, so it doesn't refer to a clade, as Wikipedia says:
Wikipedia wrote:Scientific classifications are now more often based on monophyletic groups, that is groups consisting of all the descendants of a common ancestor. The New World monkeys and the Old World monkeys are each monophyletic groups, but their combination is not, since it excludes hominoids (apes and humans). Thus the term "monkey" no longer refers to a recognized scientific taxon. The smallest accepted taxon which contains all the monkeys is the infraorder Simiiformes, or simians. However this also contains the hominoids (apes and humans), so that monkeys are, in terms of currently recognized taxa, non-hominoid simians. Colloquially and pop-culturally, the term is ambiguous and sometimes monkey includes non-human hominoids.[8] In addition, frequent arguments are made for a monophyletic usage of the word "monkey" from the perspective that usage should reflect cladistics.[9][10][11][12]

AronRa is one of those making the "frequent arguments" of the last sentence.

In the same way, as theropod points out, birds are in the same evolutionary group as crocodiles, and are now classified, at least by some zoologists, as being in a group "Reptilia" (cladogram here) - perhaps the ordinary usage of "reptile" would be better changed to include birds?
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#10  Postby Calilasseia » Jul 15, 2017 10:49 pm

On a more detailed note, looking at the phylogeny of primates, we share a Catarrhine common ancestor with the SuperFamily Cercopithecidoidea, the Old World Monkeys, but you have to go back further, to the divergence of the Simiiformes, to find a shared ancestor with the New World Monkeys, that belong to the ParvOrder Platyrrhini. At this point, the classification scheme reflects the disparity between lay understanding of these organisms, and a rigorous phylogenetic view.

The ParvOrder Playtrrhini, considered in isolation, is a monophyletic clade - it contains all of the descendants of a specific ancestor. Likewise, so does the SuperFamily Cercopithecoidea. Trouble is, treating both of these groups as comprising "monkeys", results in a paraphyletic assemblage: the resulting assemblage does NOT contain all descendants from the relevant Simiiform ancestor, as that ancestor also gave rise, via the Catarrhini, to another branch of the tree, the Hominoidea. The term "monkey", as applied popularly, does not dovetail with the known phylogeny of the requisite organisms, and thus its use in any proper scientific discussion of our ancestry is invalid.

It's at this point, that the real nature of the question moves from the simplistic, misleading, and phylogenetically invalid "are we monkeys?", to "what is the phylogenetic status of our common ancestor with the Cercopithecoidea?", a question that is both more rigorous and more illuminating. The answer to that latter question, of course, being that said ancestor was a Catarrhine primate, and consequently, so are we. As indeed, we are members of every clade that gave rise to the Catarrhines, including the Simiiformes, right the way down to the Chordata, the Deuterostomata, the Bilateria and the Eumetazoa.
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#11  Postby Matt_B » Jul 16, 2017 2:20 am

Yep. I may take objection to being called an ape or a monkey, but I'm 100% happy to be described as a simiiform. ;)
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#12  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Jul 16, 2017 9:06 am

It's also a bit of a language thing.
Dutch doesn't have seperate words for monkeys and apes. Neither does German if I am not mistaken.
They're both called 'aap' similar to ape.
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#13  Postby tuco » Jul 16, 2017 9:32 am

We have "opice" - monkey/ape and "lidoop" from "lid(i)" - people/humans and "op(ice)" or Hominidae.

Regardless of classification, if it behaves like a monkey its a monkey, to me.
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#14  Postby zoon » Jul 16, 2017 10:28 am

Thomas Eshuis wrote:It's also a bit of a language thing.
Dutch doesn't have seperate words for monkeys and apes. Neither does German if I am not mistaken.
They're both called 'aap' similar to ape.

I think AronRa would argue that "aap" really ought to include humans, on the grounds that otherwise it refers to a biological group which doesn't follow modern taxonomy because it's not a clade. I can see where he's coming from, but at the same time I think there's something to be said for words in natural languages keeping the meanings everyone uses them for; life would become very complicated if the common names for things had to follow the latest in scientific thinking at all times. I remember talking to someone who was on one of the committees looking into endangered species of animals; often the committee found it easier to use the common English names for the animals, because the common names stayed the same while the scientific names changed as taxonomists argued with each other.
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#15  Postby laklak » Jul 16, 2017 3:53 pm

If it looks like a monkey, walks like a monkey, and flings shit like a monkey - it's probably a monkey.
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#16  Postby The_Piper » Jul 16, 2017 4:26 pm

Humans are apes. Brett Baier is a Monchichi. :shifty:
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Re: Humans : Apes or Monkeys? Both? Neither?

#17  Postby tuco » Jul 17, 2017 1:20 am

Fucking Mochhichi lol What is sold separately? Which reminds me, separating from monkeys:

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