Sterkfontein Caves

Australopithecus africanus yet found.

" /> stalactite comes from the Greek word stalaktos, which means “dripping”, because these other-worldly formations are produced by “drips” from the ceilings of limestone caves. Water reacts with chemical elements in the ground and rock, and seeps slowly through the roof of the cave, depositing calcium carbonate, which hardens and builds up over time to form a stalactite.

" /> miners because of the extensive deposits of calcium carbonate in the form of stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone. Calcium carbonate is a chemical combination of calcium, carbon and oxygen. When burned, it yields lime – what the miners were really after.

" /> David Draper, a respected geologist of the time, persuaded the miners to preserve the main cave because of its stalactites, stalagmites and pristine underground lake, but mining continued in the area. Signs of the lime workers’ activities can still be seen.

" /> Sterkfontein Caves is down a long staircase, taking you to the depths below where scientists have discovered many hominid and other animal fossils, dating back more than 4-million years, to the birth of humanity.

" /> Cradle of Humankind comprises 15 palaeontological sites which together make up the World Heritage Site.

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