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genus of extinct primates, 1895, from Modern Latin, literally "monkey-man," from Greek pithekos "ape" + anthropos "man" (see anthropo-). Coined 1868 by Haeckel as a name for a hypothetical link between apes and men (attested in English in this sense from 1876); applied by Dr. Eugène Dubois (1858-1940), physician of the Dutch army in Java, to remains he found there in 1891.
An extinct hominid postulated from bones found in Java in 1891 and originally designated Pithecanthropus erectus because it was thought to represent a species evolutionarily between apes and humans. Pithecanthropus is now classified as Homo erectus. Also called Java man. See more at Homo erectus.