Definition of Pithecanthropus in English:



  • A former genus name applied to some fossil hominids found in Java in 1891.

    • ‘We encounter the term ‘ape man’ in its Greek version, Pithecanthropus, in the writings of Ernst Haeckel, who was one of Charles Darwin's great supporters in Germany during the nineteenth century.’
    • ‘This ‘Java or Solo man’ was named Pithecanthropus erectus, which means ‘upright ape man’.’
    • ‘Everything about Pithecanthropus alalus, or the ‘speechless apeman’ was the product of Haeckel's imagination.’
    • ‘Among the early additions were the Pithecanthropus fossils (the so-called Java man) from a human-sized hominid with heavy brow ridges and a brain of intermediate size.’
    • ‘During a dig on the island of Java, he discovered the first fossils of a Pithecanthropus erectus.’


Late 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek pithēkos ape + anthrōpos man.