Based on what I have seen in the lecture videos, last week and this week, it seems there are quite a few different ways to determine if a specimen is a hominid. Included in this are the teeth. Based on the dental pattern, the enamel thickness, canine size, and size of the molars can be used to determine if a fossil was hominid or other primate. Mandible and Maxilla shape and size, narrow versus wide, could help paleoanthropologist determine if the specimen is hominid as well. In addition the cranial capacity can be a good indicator depending on the shape and size. However, stand alone the cranial capacity may not divulge much information since early hominids had a small ape like cranial capacity. Skeletal shape, pelvis shape, and if the species has a knee can also determine if the species is hominid because these structures indicate if the species was bipedal. The absence of a knee, for example, indicates the species was not bipedal which intern indicates it’s not a hominid. The pelvis shape also determines this, if the pelvis is more bowl shaped, rather than elongated, its a good indication the specimen was bipedal.
In the web article I found here: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/09/homo_naledi_discovery_newfound_hominid_species_deliberately_disposed_of.html talks about the discovery of Homo naledi. This is a species that was alive some 2 million years ago. This species appeared to be a mash of up modern humans, homo erectus, and Australopithecus. Their wrist and palms were shaped similar to the modern human but they had a “immensely powerful thumb.” However, they had a small brain capacity like Homo erectus; but unlike H. erectus, H. naledi “almost certainly” buried their dead. The archeologist determined this due to the location where the remains were found. Had an animal drug the body to this hard to reach location there would have been marks left on the bones, but there doesn’t appear to be any. This is a good example of the behavioral aspect of hominids. While not all hominids did bury their dead, it is a strong representative of when about the tradition came to be.