The term australopithecine refers to two very closely related genera within the Hominina subtribe of the Hominini tribe. They appeared in the Pliocene:

* "Australopithecus", appeared about 4 million years ago;
* "Paranthropus", appeared about 2.7 million years ago.

When used alone, the term refers to both genera together. "Australopithecus" is sometimes referred to as the "gracile (slender) australopithecines", while "Paranthropus" are also called the "robust australopithecines".

A likely ancestor of the Australopithecines is the "Ardipithecus" genus (lived 4.4 million years ago). The "Homo" genus (humans, appear about 2.4 million years ago with "Homo habilis") appear to be descended from Australopithecine ancestors, more precisely from "Kenyanthropus platyops" branching off "Australopithecus" some 3.5 million years ago. An alternative possibility is the derivation of "Homo" directly from "Ardipithecus" with an as yet undiscovered link connecting "Ardipithecus" and "Homo habilis" existing in parallel to the Australopithecines in the period 4 to 2.5 million years ago.

ee also

*Human taxonomy


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  • australopithecine — n. 1. any of several extinct humanlike small brained bipedal primates of the genus {Australopithecus}; they existed from 1 to 4 million years ago. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • australopithecine — adj. 1. of or pertaining to the genus {Australopithecus}. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • australopithecine — [ô strā΄lō pith′ə sīn΄, ô΄strā΄lō pith′əsēn΄; ô΄strə lōpith′ə sīn΄, ô΄strə lō pith′ə sēn] adj. [< ModL < L australis (see AUSTRAL) + ModL pithecus (see PITHECANTHROPUS ERECTUS)] of or relating to a genus (Australopithecus) of extinct… …   English World dictionary

  • australopithecine — noun Etymology: ultimately from Latin australis + Greek pithēkos ape Date: 1943 any of a genus (Australopithecus) of extinct southern and eastern African hominids that include gracile and robust forms with near human dentition and a relatively… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • australopithecine — /aw stray loh pith euh seen , suyn , peuh thee sin, suyn , aw streuh /, n. 1. (sometimes cap.) a member of the extinct genus Australopithecus. adj. 2. of, pertaining to, or resembling the genus Australopithecus or its members. [1935 40;… …   Universalium

  • australopithecine — 1. noun Any of several extinct hominid primates, of the genus Australopithecus, from the Pleistocene period 2. adjective Of or pertaining to these creatures Syn …   Wiktionary

  • australopithecine — aus·tra·lo·pith·e·cine …   English syllables

  • australopithecine — aus•tra•lo•pith•e•cine [[t]ɔˌstreɪ loʊˈpɪθ əˌsin, ˌsaɪn, pəˈθi sɪn, ˌsaɪn, ˌɔ strə [/t]] n. 1) pan (sometimes cap.) a member of the genus Australopithecus[/ex] 2) pan of, pertaining to, or resembling the genus Australopithecus or its members •… …   From formal English to slang

  • australopithecine — /ˌɒstrəloʊˈpɪθəsin / (say .ostruhloh pithuhseen) noun 1. a primate of the extinct genus Australopithecus, of the Pliocene epoch, found first in southern Africa, having jaws resembling those of a human and a skull resembling that of an ape.… …   Australian English dictionary

  • australopithecine — I noun any of several extinct humanlike bipedal primates with relatively small brains of the genus Australopithecus; from 1 to 4 million years ago • Hypernyms: ↑hominid • Hyponyms: ↑Australopithecus afarensis, ↑Australopithecus africanus,… …   Useful english dictionary

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