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a group of higher primates whose bones were first excavated in the Kalahari Desert (South Africa) in 1924 and later in East and Central Africa. Primates close to the australopithecines lived in South, Southeast, and Southwest Asia.

The australopithecines lived at the beginning of the Quaternary (2,600,000 years ago) as biped land primates. They resembled man through the weak development of the jawbones, the absence of protuberant fangs, a prehensile hand with a developed thumb, and an ability to stand erect. The brain was relatively large (500–600 cubic meters), but differed little in structure from the brain of the present-day humanoid apes. The australopithecines were omnivorous; they used animal bones, sticks, and stones for defense and for attack, and it is possible that the most developed types could make rudimentary implements from them.

Some scholars include the australopithecines in the hominid family; others consider them a separate family. There were two species among the African australopithecines: Paranthropus and Australopithecus proper. Most scholars do not think that australopithecines were the ancestors of man but view them as a side line in the evolution of higher primates.


Iakimov, V. P. “Avstralopitekovye.” In Iskopaemye gominidy i proiskhozhdenie cheloveka. Moscow, 1966.
Robinson, J. T. “The Origin and Adaptive Radiation of the Australo-Pithecines.” In Evolution and Hominisation. Stuttgart, 1962.


References in periodicals archive ?
To a limited extent, australopithecines surely used pieces of wood, bone splinters, and unmodified stones as spears, digging sticks, clubs, and pounding devices; and their recourse to tools must have involved activities a bit more varied and central to their lives than anything primatologists have found in the behavior of chimpanzees, the most sophisticated tool users among the other primates.
of New York, Stony Brook) discusses what has been learned about the evolutionary history of the "robust" australopithecines in the previous 50 years.
While that's still one theory, Brown now leans toward the more striking idea that Flores man represents a direct link to the much more ancient australopithecines, a notion that raises all sorts of interesting speculation because australopithecine fossils have never been found outside of Africa.
1995 "The first australopithecine 2,500 kilometres west of the Rift Valley" (Chad), en: Nature, vol.
It's the first time we have a virtually complete skeleton of an australopithecine, or ape-man.
The brain of the early australopithecines was about the same size as that of a modern chimpanzee, about 400 g vs.
The top-most skull is that of a modern gorilla, standing in for our ancestors the Australopithecines.
But these australopithecines failed to fit preconceived notions of what a "missing link" should look like, and many scientists refused to accept them as bona fide members of our lineage.
Further finds made it clear that it was not an ape but a hominid, and at least four different species have now been identified, which are lumped together as australopithecines.
Several psychological and sociological works have been published which look at gay life from about the same distance as the Leakeys watched the fossil families of Australopithecines in Olduvai Gorge.
They lived alongside robust australopithecines like Paranthropus, which would coexist with various species of Homo for the next million years.
We finally have evidence of what was long suspected, that australopithecines used humanlike hand proportions to handle objects in humanlike ways," comments anthropologist Brian Richmond of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.