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Any of various extinct primates, especially an early hominin.
1. Of or relating to these extinct primates.
2. Of or relating to a period preceding settlement by humans: New Zealand's prehuman avifauna.


(Anthropology & Ethnology) an evolutionary ancestor of mankind
1. (Anthropology & Ethnology) denoting the evolutionary period before the appearance of mankind
2. (Anthropology & Ethnology) relating to an evolutionary ancestor of mankind


(priˈhyu mən; often -ˈyu-)

1. preceding the appearance or existence of human beings.
2. of or pertaining to a human prototype.
3. a prehuman animal.
References in classic literature ?
These germs of disease have taken toll of humanity since the beginning of things--taken toll of our prehuman ancestors since life began here.
Philologist, historian and rhetorician Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) theorized that prehumans left that state of nature by crafting ways of cooperating with each other based on superstitions that mysterious gods and spirits manipulated the world (1).
Prehumans living around 800,000 years ago in what's now Spain were, literally, trailblazers.
He covers the prehumans, the humans, chronicle, autobiography, Lucy the fossil, and Lucy the symbol.
According to Dunbar, as a result of natural selection, prehumans eventually developed early language skills to manage their large group social bonding issues better.
77 million years provide a missing link between ape-like prehumans and modern man.
In this book about the emergence of humankind, the author states: "This book was inspired by discoveries of the oldest fossilized remains of humans and prehumans ever found, discoveries made in Africa.
For most of our history as humans and all of our history as prehumans, our ancestors lived in small groups probably no more than 100 individuals.
Another line of evidence comes from studies of the chimpanzee, a species thought to have shared a common ancestor with prehumans as recently as five million years ago.
Within less than 200 pages he tells a coherent tale including both pertinent detail and amusing anecdote covering the period from Neanderthal prehumans to the present.
Hoberg's team did DNA studies that gave more evidence for the idea that prehumans acquired these tapeworms before cattle and swine were domesticated about 10,000 years ago.
With the development of the brain's capacity for language, humans beings were able to develop concepts and have experiences that had been unavailable to prehumans, among them the consciousness of risk and of death, of time, the past, and the future; of reward and punishment; puzzlement about natural phenomena; the satisfactions of problem-solving; and aesthetic pleasure, wonder, and awe.