Pithecanthropus

Definition of Pithecanthropus

Pith`e`can`thro´pus   Pronunciation: pĭth`ė`kăn`thrō´pŭs
prop. n.1.A hypothetical genus of primates intermediate between man and the anthropoid apes.
2.A genus consisting of an extinct primate (Pithecanthropus erectus) apparently intermediate between man and the existing anthropoid apes, known from bones first found in Java (hence called Java man) in 1891-92, and other bones found later. The species was renamed Homo erectus around 1960. The Javan bones are believed to be from 1.6 to 1.9 million years old, and include a thigh bone of the human type, two molar teeth intermediate between those of man and the anthropoids, and the calvaria of the skull, indicating a brain capacity of about 900 cubic centimeters, and resembling in form that of the Neanderthal man. Additional specimens of what are considerd as variants of the species have been found in China, Africa, and Europe. Homo erectus is currently believed to have evolved in Africa from Homo habilis, the first member of the genus Homo. Anatomically and physiologically, Homo erectus resembles contemporary humans except for having a stouter bone structure.

Related Words

genus Pithecanthropus, hominid, Pithecanthropus erectus
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