Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa

Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa

The Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site first named by UNESCO in 1999, about 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa in the Gauteng province. This site currently occupies 47,000 hectares (180 sq mi); it contains a complex of limestone caves, including the Sterkfontein Caves, where the 2.3-million year-old fossil Australopithecus africanus (nicknamed “Mrs. Ples”) was found in 1947 by Dr. Robert Broom and John T. Robinson. The find helped corroborate the 1924 discovery of the juvenile Australopithecus africanus skull, “Taung Child”, by Raymond Dart, at Taung in the North West Province of South Africa, where excavations still continue.

The name Cradle of Humankind reflects the fact that the site has produced a large number, as well as some of the oldest, hominin fossils ever found, some dating back as far as 3.5 million years ago. Sterkfontein alone has produced more than a third of early hominid fossils ever found prior to 2010.

Outline
The Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site first named by UNESCO in 1999, about 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa in the Gauteng province.

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