The genus Praeanthropus was originally coined by Hennig (1948), but that name is unavailable because Hennig (1948) did not fix a type species. Senyurek (1955) argued that the Garusi I maxilla, attributed to Meganthropus africanus by Weinert (1950) belonged in a new genus and resurrected Hennig's Praeanthropus, now Praeanthropus Senyürek, 1955 with Praeanthropus africanus as the type species.
Groves (1996) petitioned the ICZN to supress the name "africanus" in favor of "afarensis" to avoid homonymy with Australopithecus africanus Dart, 1925. See entry for Australopithecus afarensis.
Strait et al. (1997) and Strait and Grine (2004) have argued to move Australopithecus afarensis to Praeantthropus in order to reduce the paraphyly of taxa in Australopithecus. However, a full implementation of this solutioin also requires minting new generic names for Au. anamensis, Au. garhi and other australopits.