word-forming element, used from mid-19c. (first in Eocene) in compound words formed by earth-scientists, and meaning "characterized by the earliest appearance of," from Greek ēōs "dawn, morning, daybreak," also the name of the goddess of the morning, from PIE root *aus- (1) "to shine," especially of the dawn. Piltdown Man, before exposed as a fraud, was known as Eoanthropus.
before vowels actin-, word-forming element meaning "pertaining to rays," from Latinized form of Greek aktis (genitive aktinos) "ray of light, beam of light; spoke of a wheel;" a word of unknown etymology. It is perhaps cognate with Sanskrit aktuh "light, ray," Gothic uhtwo "dawn, daybreak," Lithuanian anksti "early" [Beekes].