Wood and Harrison discuss two cautionary tales of hominid classification gone awry. In one case from more than 30 years ago, scientists thought that 12-million-year-old Asian fossils from a creature called Ramapithecus belonged to a hominid until further finds pegged it as an orangutan ancestor.
A second case concerns 7- to 8-million-year-old Oreopithecus, designated a hominid about 50 years ago. This creature walked upright with a shuffling gait and displayed some other hominid-like features. But by the 1990s Oreopithecus had been unmasked as an ape that evolved unusual traits on several Mediterranean islands.
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