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Encyclopedia > Australopithecine

This term australopithecine refers to two very closely related hominin genera: Genera Gorilla Pan (chimpanzees) Homo (humans) Paranthropus (extinct) Australopithecus (extinct) Sahelanthropus (extinct) Ardipithecus (extinct) Kenyanthropus (extinct) Homininae is a subfamily of Hominidae, including Homo sapiens and some extinct relatives, as well as the gorillas and the chimpanzees. ... In biology, a genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic grouping. ...

When used alone, the term refers to both genera together. Australopithecus is sometimes referred to as the gracile (slender) australopithecines. They appeared earlier in the fossil record and gave rise to Paranthropus, which are often called the robust australopithecines.They are the earliest fossils ever found. Species †A. afarensis (Lucy) †A. africanus †A. anamensis †A. bahrelghazali †A. garhi Formerly Australopithecus, now Paranthropus † † † The gracile australopithecines (members of the genus Australopithecus) are a group of extinct hominids that are closely related to humans. ... Species †Paranthropus aethiopicus †Paranthropus boisei †Paranthropus robustus The robust australopithecines, members of the extinct hominin genus Paranthropus, were bipedal hominins that probably descended from the gracile australopithecine hominins (Australopithecus). ...

  Results from FactBites:
Australopithecine (555 words)
What is not mentioned in [his] book about Lucy is the fact that [the] bottom portion [of the skeleton fossil] - the knee and the leg bone which is [what] defines her as the ancestor of humans was not found with the rest of the skeleton.
What is left out [of most of the Australopithecine material], especially regarding the Leakeys' effort, is [that] they don't think at all, and never did [think] that this led to man or has anything to do with man. Notice the point that is acknowledged by Lewin, the Editor of Research News in SCIENCE magazine.
The facultative bipedalism exhibited by the Australopithecine appears to be a primary evolutionary criteria for transitional status and...
Australopithecines (303 words)
Some believe that some of the australopithecine species are directly ancestral to humans, however others hold they are a "side-branch" of the line that led to humans, and not direct human ancestors.
Australopithecines stood about 1-1.5 m in height and had relatively small brains typically measuring between 370 and 515 cm3 (cc)--only slightly larger than the brain of a chimpanzee.
Early studies believed the australopithecine pelvis was a clear-cut precursor to Homo with human-like bipedality, while later studies of australopithecine locomotion found it to be different from modern apes, but also very different from humans--a distinct mode of locomotion.
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