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Sterkfontein site of South Africa, not far from Johannesburg, wherein 1998, in the Silberberg Grotto, the remains were found, a hominid called StW573, dating to 3.6 million years ago and thus oldest Ethiopian Lucy. These remains belong to Australopithecus africanus, species already known in the South African area, and contribute to increasing knowledge of the Australopithecines, the earliest hominids with specialized characters for bipedal locomotion.
The cradle of humanity is an area classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. It is located about 50 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg, in the South African province of Gauteng.
The site covers 474 km2; It contains limestone caves, including the famous Sterkfontein cave where it was found the oldest fossil of Australopithecus africanus. Dates back to 2.3 million years ago, it has been nicknamed Mrs. Ples and was discovered in 1947 by paleontologists Robert Broom and John T. Robinson. Another famous cave is Wonder Cave Kromdraai. This finding reinforced that carried out in 1924 by Raymond Dart which in Taung in the South African province of North West, tempering the skull of a young Australopithecus africanus, nicknamed the Taung child. In 1997 he was found almost intact skeleton of “Little Foot”, dated roughly about 3.3 million years ago, discovered by the University of the Witwatersrand and, in particular, by Ronald J. Clarke.
The use of fire in this site dates back to more than 1 million years ago at Swartkrans. The remains of hominids in the Cradle of mankind are trapped in a mixture of limestone and other sediments called breach, fossilized by time. Although the hominids were probably widespread throughout Africa, their remains can only be found in those sites where the geological conditions have allowed the fossilization. On 7 December 2005, the South African President Thabo Mbeki opened the Maropeng Visitors Centre.
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