Australopithecus [aw-strey-loh-pith-i-kuh s, -puh-thee-kuh s, aw-struh-] Word Origin noun

  1. an extinct genus of small-brained,large-toothed bipedal hominids that lived in Africa between one and four million years ago.

Compare australopithecine. Origin of Australopithecus New Latin (1905), equivalent to austral(is) austral1 + -o- -o- + pithēcus Greek píthēkos ape Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019 Word Origin and History for australopithecus Australopithecus n.

1925, coined by Australian anthropologist Raymond A. Dart (1893-1988) from Latin australis “southern” (see Australia) + Greek pithekos “ape.” So called because first discovered in South Africa.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper australopithecus in Culture Australopithecus [(aw-stray-loh-pith-i-kuhs, aw-stray-loh-pi-thee-kuhs)]

An extinct genus of the hominid family that lived in Africa from about three to one million years ago. The name means “southern ape.”

Note Members of this genus were the ancestors of modern humans. One of the best-known fossils, Lucy, was a member of this genus. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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