The Cradle of Humankind

Located 65 Km south west of South Africa’s capital city, Pretoria, is The Cradle of Humankind. The site includes the Sterkfontein Caves, where the famous 2.3 million year old fossil “Mrs. Ples” was discovered. The discovery was made by Dr Robert Broom and John T Robinson. Prior to 2010, the Sterkfontein Caves produced over 30% of hominid fossils ever found.

Including the Sterkfontein Caves and a massive complex of limestone caves, the site currently occupies over 45 000 hectares. There are close to 40 fossil-bearing caves across the site. A massive number of homonin fossils have thus far been excavated from the many sites comprising the Cradle of Humankind, including some of the oldest ever discovered. A few of these fossils have been found to be almost 3.5 million years old. It is theorized that hominins may have lived all across the African continent, but their fossils can only be found where the conditions for fossil formation are optimal. The hominin fossils found in dolomitic caves at the Cradle are often enclosed in a blend of limestone and breccia.

hominid – “group consisting of all modern and extinct Great Apes”

hominin – “the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors”

Breccia – clastic sedimentary rocks made up of angular fragments. Often there are gaps between the angular fragments. These gaps are filled with a medium consisting of smaller particles that binds the rock together. Via Facebook.

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