Humanoid

resembling

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A humanoid (/ˈhjuːmənɔɪd/; from English human and -oid "resembling") is something that has an appearance resembling a human being. The earliest recorded use of the term, in 1870, referred to indigenous peoples in areas colonized by Europeans. By the 20th century, the term came to describe fossils which were morphologically similar, but not identical, to those of the human skeleton.[1] Although this usage was common in the sciences for much of the 20th century, it is now considered rare.[1] More generally, the term can refer to anything with uniquely human characteristics and/or adaptations, such as possessing opposable anterior forelimb-appendages (thumbs), visible spectrum-binocular vision (having two eyes), or biomechanicdigitigrade-bipedalism (the ability to walk on heels in an upright position).
Although there are no known humanoid species outside the genus Homo, the theory of convergent evolution speculates that different species may evolve similar traits, and in the case of a humanoid these traits may include intelligence and bipedalism and other humanoid skeletal changes, as a result of similar evolutionary pressures. American psychologist and Dinosaur intelligence theorist Harry Jerison suggested the possibility of sapient dinosaurs. In a 1978 presentation at the American Psychological Association, he speculated that dromiceiomimus could have evolved into a highly intelligent species like human beings. In his book, Wonderful Life, Stephen Jay Gould argues that if the tape of life were re-wound and played back, life would have taken a very different course. Simon Conway Morris counters this argument, arguing that convergence is a dominant force in evolution and that since the same environmental and physical constraints act on all life, there is an "optimum" body plan that life will inevitably evolve toward, with evolution bound to stumble upon intelligence, a trait of primates, crows, and dolphins, at some point.


A model of the hypothetical Dinosauroid, Dinosaur Museum, Dorchester
In 1982, Dale Russell, curator of vertebrate fossils at the National Museum of Canada in Ottawa, conjectured a possible evolutionary path that might have been taken by the dinosaur Troodon had it not perished in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago, suggesting that it could have evolved into intelligent beings similar in body plan to humans, becoming a humanoid of dinosaur origin. Over geologic time, Russell noted that there had been a steady increase in the encephalization quotient or EQ (the relative brain weight when compared to other species with the same body weight) among the dinosaurs. Russell had discovered the first Troodontid skull, and noted that, while its EQ was low compared to humans, it was six times higher than that of other dinosaurs. If the trend in Troodon evolution had continued to the present, its brain case could by now measure 1,100 cm3; comparable to that of a human. Troodontids had semi-manipulative fingers, able to grasp and hold objects to a certain degree, and binocular vision.

Russell proposed that this "Dinosauroid", like most dinosaurs of the troodontid family, would have had large eyes and three fingers on each hand, one of which would have been partially opposed. As with most modern reptiles (and birds), he conceived of its genitalia as internal. Russell speculated that it would have required a navel, as a placenta aids the development of a large brain case. However, it would not have possessed mammary glands, and would have fed its young, as birds do, on regurgitated food. He speculated that its language would have sounded somewhat like bird song.

Russell's thought experiment has been met with criticism from other paleontologists since the 1980s, many of whom point out that his Dinosauroid is overly anthropomorphic. Gregory S. Paul (1988) and Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., consider it "suspiciously human" (Paul, 1988) and Darren Naish has argued that a large-brained, highly intelligent troodontid would retain a more standard theropod body plan, with a horizontal posture and long tail, and would probably manipulate objects with the snout and feet in the manner of a bird, rather than with human-like "hands”.