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[pith-i-kan-thruh-puh s, -kuh n-throh-puh s] /ˌpɪθ ɪˈkæn θrə pəs, -kənˈθroʊ pəs/
a former genus of extinct hominids whose members have now been assigned to the proposed species Homo erectus.
Origin of Pithecanthropus
< New Latin (1891) < Greek píthēk(os) ape + ánthrōpos man Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Pithecanthropus
Historical Examples
  • Nevertheless, even in Pithecanthropus, the brute is passing into the man.

  • The famous Eppelsheim femur is straighter than, and as slender as that of Pithecanthropus.

    Prehistoric Man W. L. H. Duckworth
  • The remains of Pithecanthropus were recovered from an alluvial deposit at Trinil.

    Prehistoric Man W. L. H. Duckworth
  • Maybe Pithecanthropus had a monkey uncle, but no Pithecanthropus ever went monkey.

    This World Is Taboo Murray Leinster
  • Pithecanthropus (of Java) branched off as a distinct genus about the middle of the Miocene.

  • This Pithecanthropus excited the liveliest interest as the long-sought transitional form between man and the ape.

  • The thigh-bone shows that Pithecanthropus could have stood and walked erect quite comfortably.

  • Pithecanthropus raises the vexed question as to whether the erect attitude or brain development came first in the story.

    Man, Past and Present Agustus Henry Keane
  • Thus Pithecanthropus has been confidently assigned to a place in a branch of the human family tree.

    Man, Past and Present Agustus Henry Keane
  • Thus the author placed Pithecanthropus in a new family, of the order Primates, which he named the Pithecanthropid.

    Men of the Old Stone Age Henry Fairfield Osborn
British Dictionary definitions for Pithecanthropus


/ˌpɪθɪkænˈθrəʊpəs; -ˈkænθrə-/
noun (pl) -pi (-ˌpaɪ)
any primitive apelike man of the former genus Pithecanthropus, now included in the genus Homo See Java man, Peking man
Derived Forms
pithecanthropine, pithecanthropoid, adjective
Word Origin
C19: New Latin, from Greek pithēkos ape + anthrōpos man
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Pithecanthropus



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Pithecanthropus in Science
  (pĭth'ĭ-kān'thrə-pəs, -kān-thrō'pəs)   
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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