Any of a number of extinct hominid species that lived in Africa between about 4 and 1 million years ago, and combined a fully erect posture and bipedal gait with a small and apelike brain case.

Australopithecines include gracile (lightly built) species like Australopithecus afarensis, A. anamensis, A. barhelghazali, and A. africanus, and more robust forms like A. aethiopicus, A. boisei, and A. robustus. The robust australopithecines (which are sometimes included in a separate genus, Paranthropus) were herbivores and became extinct between 1.5 and 1 million years ago. The gracile forms (sometimes included under additional genera like Ardapithecus) were hunters, scavengers, and omnivores, and the adoption of partial carnivory gave them an advantage when food was scarce. The gracile australopithecines gave rise to the genus Homo c.2.5 million years ago.

There have been a number of early attempts at australopithecine lazurogenesis, but authentic specimens were not geneered until the later First Federation period. The largest existing colony is to be found in the Savannah Orbitals of Robertson.
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Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 03 November 2001.