- a former genus of extinct hominids whose members have now been assigned to the proposed species Homo erectus.
noun plural -pi (-ˌpaɪ)
- any primitive apelike man of the former genus Pithecanthropus, now included in the genus HomoSee Java man, Peking man
n.genus of extinct primates, 1895, from Modern Latin, literally “monkey-man,” from Greek pithekos “ape” + anthropos “man” (see anthropo-). Coined 1868 by Haeckel as a name for a hypothetical link between apes and men (attested in English in this sense from 1876); applied by Dr. Eugène Dubois (1858-1940), physician of the Dutch army in Java, to remains he found there in 1891.
- An extinct hominid postulated from bones found in Java in 1891 and originally designated Pithecanthropus erectus because it was thought to represent a species evolutionarily between apes and humans. Pithecanthropus is now classified as Homo erectus. Also called Java man See more at Homo erectus.