Definition of prehuman in English:



  • Relating to or denoting the time before the appearance of human beings, especially the evolutionary stage immediately preceding the development of modern humans.

    ‘our prehuman ancestors’
    • ‘Now, of course, a few hairs standing up on our heads are unlikely to make us look much bigger, so the reaction has become much less pronounced, but it is still there nonetheless, a legacy of our prehuman ancestors.’
    • ‘She was dated at about 3.5 million years old and was a member of a prehuman genus called Australopithecus.’
    • ‘However, the growing persuasiveness of the idea that human history was of much shorter duration than prehuman history presented serious imaginative problems for natural philosophers and illustrators alike.’
    • ‘Prominent and distinctive in this profile are the nose and the well-defined chin separating modern humans both from prehuman ancestors and from other, contemporary primates.’
    • ‘In an era when there was little awareness of extinction or the prehuman past, the animal's identity had been a subject of vigorous debate for nearly a century in both Europe and America.’
    • ‘His actual origin goes back not to Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden… but to more primitive races of men, and then to prehuman ancestors, and in the end to the earliest forms of life upon the earth.’
    • ‘Droughts and the glacial pace of the ice ages surely played some role in prehuman evolution, too, though it hasn't been obvious why it affected our ancestors so differently than the other great apes.’


  • A precursor of the human species.

    • ‘So how did our prehuman and early human ancestresses living in the Pleistocene Epoch (from 1.6 million until roughly 10,000 years ago) manage to get those calories?’
    • ‘Hoberg's team did DNA studies that gave more evidence for the idea that prehumans acquired these tapeworms before cattle and swine were domesticated about 10,000 years ago.’
    • ‘The Australopithecenes and other prehumans had relatively large faces in proportion to the size of their heads, whereas modern humans have proportionally smaller faces and larger braincases filled with larger brains.’
    • ‘Within less than 200 pages he tells a coherent tale including both pertinent detail and amusing anecdote covering the period from Neanderthal prehumans to the present.’
    • ‘The nineteenth-century appeal of the Old Man of the Mountain lay in the Romantic fantasy that a granite profile - New Hampshire's ‘oldest inhabitant ‘- had served as the eternal witness to all earth history, human and prehuman.’’