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The genus Australopithecus is probably the one that comes closest to the general population's idea of an ape-man. A. afarensis and A. africanus are among the most famous extinct hominids. A. africanus used to be regarded as ancestral to the genus Homo (in particular H. erectus), but since then Hominid? fossils have been found that are older than A. africanus, but nevertheless seem to belong to the genus Homo. Thus, the genus Homo either split off from the genus Australopithecus at an earlier date (the latest common ancestor being A. afarensis or an even earlier form), or both developped from an as yet possibly unknown common ancestor independently.

The genus Paranthropus developed from Australopithecus; often these are considered a single genus.



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Last edited September 28, 2001 6:57 pm by Andre Engels (diff)