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Definition of DRYOPITHECINE
: any of a subfamily (Dryopithecinae) of Miocene and Pliocene Old World anthropoid apes sometimes regarded as ancestors of both humans and modern anthropoids
Origin of DRYOPITHECINE
ultimately from Greek drys tree + pithēkos ape
First Known Use: 1939
Any member of the genus Dryopithecus, a group of extinct apelike animals. The species are representative of a group of generalized apes that includes the ancestors of both the modern apes and humans. Fragmentary materials found over a widespread area, including Europe, Africa, and Asia, have been attributed to other groups but were probably remains of Dryopithecus. Dryopithecines are found as fossils in Miocene and Pliocene deposits (23–2.6 million years old) and apparently originated in Africa. Several distinct forms are known, including small, medium, and large (gorilla-sized). Dryopithecines lacked most of the specializations that distinguish modern apes from humans.