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Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site first named by Unesco in 2000, a half-hour-long drive northwest from Johannesburg, South Africa 20 miles (30 km) distant.

This site currently occupies 183 square miles (474 km²); it contains a complex of limestone caves, including the Sterkfontein Caves, which were the locale of the discovery of a 2.5 million year-old fossil Australopithecus africanus in 1936, thus corroborating the 1924 discovery of the Taung child by Raymond Dart. Other archaeological digs are on-going at this site. The use of fire at this site has been dated 1 million years BP at Swartkrans.

The fossils have been spared by time because they were washed into the caves, mixing with the limestone and other sediments to form breccia. The current thinking is that similar hominids lived all over Africa, but their evidence has been eroded away.

External link

Cradle of Humankind P.O.Box 8769 Johannesburg 2000 Gauteng, South Africa.

Last updated: 12-24-2004 00:46:11