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Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai, and Environs
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 4.5 million yrs
Date of Inscription: 1999, 2005
Location: Africa, South Africa, Gauteng, Limpopo and North-west provinces
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Description: The celebrated Taung Skull - a specimen of the Australopithecus africanus species - was found in the Taung Skull Fossil Site (part of the extension to the site inscribed in 1999), in 1924. Also within the site sits the Makapan Valley, which holds within its numerous archaeological caves 3.3 million year traces of human occupation and evolution. The area has important components that characterize humankind’s origin and evolution, with various excavated fossils facilitating the recognition of early hominid specimens, particularly specimens of Paranthropus, dating between 4.5 million - 2.5 million years. The site also reveals evidence of the domestication of fire 1.8 million to 1 million years ago. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  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 183 square miles (474 km²); 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 Robinson, as well as the Wonder Cave. 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. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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