from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who precedes; a predecessor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. predecessor

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who goes before; a predecessor.
  • n. An ancestor; a progenitor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who goes before; a predecessor.
  • n. A title given among the Romans— to the soldiers who preceded an army and made all necessary arrangements as to camping, supplies, the scouting service, etc.; under the later empire, to professors of civil law in the public schools.
  • n. In law, an ancestor; a predecessor; one who possessed certain land before the present possessor or holder.


Middle English antecessour, forebear, from Latin antecessor, forerunner, predecessor in office, from antecessus, past participle of antecēdere, to go before; see antecede.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin antecessor (Wiktionary)


  • The remains are thought to belong to Homo antecessor, named after the Latin word for pioneer or explorer because they are the first humans who reached Europe after a long migration from Africa. news business sport the Daily Telegraph newspaper Sunday Telegraph

  • "The humans who made the Happisburgh tools may well have been related to the people of similar antiquity from Atapuerca in Spain, assigned to the species Homo antecessor, or 'pioneer man'."

    First humans arrived in Britain 250,000 years earlier than thought

  • The only human species known to be living in Europe at the time is Homo antecessor, or "pioneer man", whose remains were discovered in the Atapuerca hills of Spain in 2008 and have been dated to between 1. 1m and 1. 2m years old.

    First humans arrived in Britain 250,000 years earlier than thought

  • The flints were probably left by hunter-gatherers of the human species Homo antecessor who eked out a living on the flood plains and marshes that bordered an ancient course of the river Thames that has long since dried up.

    First humans arrived in Britain 250,000 years earlier than thought

  • An archaeological excavation at Atapuerca, Spain, has yielded bones from a 1 million year old human who belonged to the species Homo antecessor which may have been the ancestor of the Neanderthals.

    Meet the Ancestors

  • Their exquisitely preserved fossils, uncovered in the Atapuerca region of northern Spain, are those of an 800,000-year-old species (Homo antecessor) that may be ancestral to both Neandertals and Homo sapiens.

    Museums: The Oldest Europeans

  • In their view, Homo ergaster gave rise the Homo antecessor in Africa; about one million years ago Homo antecessor spread via the Middle East to Europe, including Gran Dolina.

    A New Species?

  • The Gran Dolina excavators further argue that while Homo antecessor has similarities to later Homo heidelbergensis, the ancestor of the Neandertals, it has more traits in common with modern humans than does Homo heidelbergensis.

    A New Species?

  • If so, this bolsters the identification of Homo antecessor as a distinct species and as the direct forebear of both modern humans and Homo heidelbergensis.

    A New Species?

  • The last common ancestor to Neandertals and modern humans is older, and it is the newly named species Homo antecessor (of Lower Pleistocene age).

    A New Species?


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