(redirected from Australopithecines)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.


 (ôs′trə-lō-pĭth′ĭ-kəs, ô-strā′lō-)
A genus of extinct hominins known from Pliocene and early Pleistocene fossil remains found in Africa, characterized by relatively small brain size and evidence of bipedalism. Several species are known, including A. afarensis, dating from four to three million years ago, of which Lucy is the best-known specimen.

[New Latin Austrālopithēcus, genus name : Latin austrālis, southern (because fossil remains of the genus were first found in South Africa); see austral + Greek pithēkos, ape (of unknown origin).]


(ɔˌstreɪ loʊˈpɪθ ɪ kəs, -pəˈθi kəs, ˌɔ strə-)

a genus of small-brained, large-toothed bipedal hominids that lived in Africa between one and four million years ago.
[< New Latin (1905) =austral(is) austral1 + -o- -o- + pithēcus < Greek píthēkos ape]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Australopithecus - extinct genus of African hominidAustralopithecus - extinct genus of African hominid  
mammal genus - a genus of mammals
family Hominidae, Hominidae - modern man and extinct immediate ancestors of man
australopithecine - any of several extinct humanlike bipedal primates with relatively small brains of the genus Australopithecus; from 1 to 4 million years ago
Australopithecus afarensis - fossils found in Ethiopia; from 3.5 to 4 million years ago
Lucy - incomplete skeleton of female found in eastern Ethiopia in 1974
Australopithecus africanus - gracile hominid of southern Africa; from about 3 million years ago
Australopithecus boisei - large-toothed hominid of eastern Africa; from 1 to 2 million years ago
Australopithecus robustus - large-toothed hominid of southern Africa; from 1.5 to 2 million years ago; formerly Paranthropus
References in periodicals archive ?
67 million years ago, "it's interesting but hardly shocking that australopithecines might be that old in South Africa," comments paleoanthropologist William Jungers of Stony Brook University in New York.
While the hominids from the genus Homo that evolved from australopithecines like the 3 million-year-old fossil Lucy-considered by many the matriarch of modern humans-were broadening their food choices, a short, upright hominid known as Paranthropus boisei that lived side by side with them in eastern Africa was diverging toward a more specific, C4 diet.
This looks very much like the same kind of foot, but it's a million years younger, so that lineage of hominins didn't go extinct when the australopithecines evolved -- they continued to be there,'' he said.
Historically the human lineage, evidently only at some point in the past in the Australopithecines, assumed obligatory upright posture.
Among Paranthropus boisei's close relatives are the Australopithecines, which also gave rise to humans.
Look at this issue: Examine the anatomy of australopithecines as an evolutionary intermediate and as evidence of the evolutionary process.
Australopithecines have a cranial capacity of around 400-450 cc.
The diet of South African australopithecines based on a study of dental microwear.
Evolutionary history of the "robust" australopithecines.
I think within 10 or 20 seconds of looking at the lower jaw, I knew exactly that it can't have been a modern human and it had features in common with Homo erectus and australopithecines," he said in a phone interview from his Sydney home.
The fierce solitary killers fed on antelopes, baboons and australopithecines.
In the second episode we meet the ape-men known as australopithecines, who split into two sub-species, one vegetarian, the other meat-eating.