Fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind
20 caves with antelope, baboon, sabre-toothed cats and rodents, some of which are between 5-million and 4-million years old.
Paranthropus robustus, Homo ergaster, baboons, leopards, sabre-toothed cats, hyenas and antelope. Evidence of the earliest controlled use of fire in Southern Africa, and some of the earliest evidence of controlled use of fire anywhere in the world.
One of the world’s richest hominid sites. Finds include Australopithecus africanus and an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton.
Animal fossils include a jackal skull.
Notable for diverse fauna including pigs, carnivores, antelope and Paranthropus robustus.
The first specimen of Paranthropus robustus was discovered at this site by a schoolboy, Gert Terblanche, in 1938. The site at which this fossil was discovered (known as “KB”) dates to at least 1.95-million years ago. “KA” is a separate site, associated primarily with the activities of sabre-tooth cats such as Dinofelis.
Abundant fauna including baboon, antelope and an extinct form of zebra. Part of the site was probably a leopard lair. Middle Stone Age deposits with artefacts have been excavated recently.
Spectacular cave formations. Fossils include rodents, frogs, lizards and birds.
92 hominid specimens have been discovered here, including Paranthropus robustus and early Homo.
Site with well-preserved fauna, including a sabre-tooth cat.
Rich fossil site with clear stratigraphy (levels). Two hominid teeth, much fauna and plant remains up to 3-million years old.
Variety of early monkeys.
Many fossils, including an enormous molar tooth of Paranthropus robustus. About 90,000 fossil specimens have been discovered here since 1979.
Wealth of animal and hominid fossils stretching back more than 3-million years. The Makapans Valley was declared part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in 2005, and is about 300 km (185 mi) from Sterkfontein, near Mokopane in Limpopo Province.
The Taung Skull Fossil Site is where the Taung Child, the type-specimen of Australopithecus africanus, was found in 1924. The site is in the North West Province, approximately 300 km (185 mi) west of Johannesburg. It was declared part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in 2005, along with the Makapans Valley.
The Cradle of Humankind has links to other World Heritage Sites that also have important fossil remains relating to hominid evolution, including the Sangiran Early Man Site in Java, Indonesia; Zhoukoudian, People’s Republic of China; the Lower Valley of the Awash, Ethiopia; the Lower Valley of the Omo, Ethiopia; and Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli, Tanzania.
Return to the Exhibition Guide.
- The Tumulus building
- Maropeng exhibition highlights
Beginning of the world
- Introduction to your visit to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
- Today's landscape in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
- Fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind
- The formation of the Earth's continents
- The development of life on Earth
- Introduction to DNA
- Introduction to evolution
- What are fossils?
- How limestone caves are formed
- Pathway to humanity
- What makes us human
- Beginning of the world
- Conferencing and events
- Resources for schools
Maropeng 09h00 - 17h00 every day
Sterkfontein Caves 09h00 - 17h00 every day
Rates and specials
Adults: R120 | Children (4-14): R65
Children under 4: free
School groups: R65 per pupil
Adults: R165 | Children (4-14): R97
Children under 4: free
School groups: R90 per pupil
Adults: R190 | Children (4-14): R125
School groups: R120 per pupil
Please note: No pets are allowed at Maropeng and Sterkfontein. Service dogs and guide dogs are the exception