[aw-strey-loh-pith-i-kuh s, -puh-thee-kuh s, aw-struh-]
- an extinct genus of small-brained,large-toothed bipedal hominids that lived in Africa between one and four million years ago.
Origin of Australopithecus
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
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
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.