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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term australopithecine refers to two very closely related genera within the Hominina subtribe of the Hominini tribe. They appeared in the Pliocene:

When used alone, the term refers to both genera together. Australopithecus is sometimes referred to as the "gracile (slender) australopithecines", while Paranthropus are also called the "robust australopithecines".

A likely ancestor of the Australopithecines is the Ardipithecus genus (lived 4.4 million years ago). The Homo genus (humans, appear about 2.4 million years ago with Homo habilis) appear to be descended from Australopithecine ancestors, more precisely from Kenyanthropus platyops branching off Australopithecus some 3.5 million years ago. An alternative possibility is the derivation of Homo directly from Ardipithecus with an as yet undiscovered link connecting Ardipithecus and Homo habilis existing in parallel to the Australopithecines in the period 4 to 2.5 million years ago.


See also



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




  1. Plural form of Australopithecine.


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