In the generally accepted mammalian classification, the higher Primates including Man are classified as follows:—
Family Pongidae (Genera Hylobates, Pongo, Pan, Gorilla
This is of course primarily a taxonomic scheme. How far is it also an evolutionary scheme and what are the probable phyletic relationships, particularly within the Hominoidea? There are two questions of particular importance: (a) What is the relationship of pongid to hominid, is it one of common ancestry? (b) If so, what is the nature of this common ancestral stage?
We can answer these questions quite conveniently by looking in turn first at the hominid evolutionary sequence and then at the pongid sequence.