Definition of pithecanthropus
1 capitalized a : a hypothetical group of extinct primates intermediate between man and the anthropoid apes b : a genus of extinct primitive men that includes two generally accepted species (P. erectus and P. robustus) known from skull and other bone fragments found in Javanese Pliocene gravels and sometimes the very similar Peking man and that comprises forms having a profile like that of an ape with very low forehead and undeveloped chin, a posture approaching that of modern man, and a brain of 900 to 1000 cubic centimeters which is larger than that of any known ape and smaller than that of any normal modern man — compare sinanthropus
2 plural pithecanthropi \-ˌpī, -(ˌ)pē\ : an individual of the group or genus Pithecanthropus
Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:
- 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
- Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
- Advanced search features
- Ad free!
Origin and Etymology of pithecanthropus
New Latin, from pithec- + -anthropus
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up pithecanthropus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).