Ar·​di·​pi·​the·​cus ˌär-də-ˈpi-thə-kəs How to pronounce Ardipithecus (audio)
: a genus of extinct early hominids known from skeletal remains from northeastern Ethiopia that includes two identified species (A. ramidus and A. kadabba) having a grasping big toe and capable of some form of upright walking
The Ardipithecus genus is a group that lived between 5.8 and 4.3 million years ago.Charles Lockwood, The Human Story, 2008
Originally placed in Australopithecus, Ardipithecus is a genus represented by an accumulating number of specimens from sites like Aramis in the Middle Awash region of Ethiopia.Holly M. Dunsworth, Human Origins 101, 2007
sometimes used as a general name for hominids of this genus
Its wrists, elbows, feet, and hands suggest that Ardipithecus clambered about in trees by putting weight on the hands.Jon Cohen, Almost Chimpanzee, 2010

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, from Afar ard, ardi "earth, land, ground" (borrowed from Arabic arḍ) + New Latin -pithecus -pithecus

First Known Use

1995, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Ardipithecus was in 1995

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Cite this Entry

“Ardipithecus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

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