definitions
  • synonyms

Australopithecus

[ aw-strey-loh-pith-i-kuh s, -puh-thee-kuh s, aw-struh- ]
/ ɔˌstreɪ loʊˈpɪθ ɪ kəs, -pəˈθi kəs, ˌɔ strə- /

noun

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

Origin of Australopithecus

< New Latin (1905), equivalent to austral(is) austral1 + -o- -o- + pithēcus < Greek píthēkos ape
Dictionary.com 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

Culture definitions for australopithecus

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.