Definition of Pithecanthropus in US English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Everything about Pithecanthropus alalus, or the ‘speechless apeman’ was the product of Haeckel's imagination.’
    • ‘During a dig on the island of Java, he discovered the first fossils of a Pithecanthropus erectus.’
    • ‘This ‘Java or Solo man’ was named Pithecanthropus erectus, which means ‘upright ape man’.’
    • ‘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.’


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