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The Cra­dle of Humankind was declared a World Her­itage Site in 1999, due to the wealth of hominid fos­sils dis­cov­ered here

The Cra­dle of Humankind is one of the world’s most impor­tant fos­sil sites because it has produced:

  1. The first adult Aus­tralo­p­ithe­cus, found by Dr Robert Broom at Sterk­fontein in 1936.
  2. A sec­ond kind of ape-man found at Krom­draai and named Paran­thro­pus robus­tus by Broom in 1938.
  3. The first fos­sils of a very ear­ly human called Telan­thro­pus in 1949 by Broom and John Robin­son, asso­ci­at­ed with Paran­thro­pus robus­tus fos­sils at Swartkrans. Telan­thro­pus is now clas­si­fied as Homo ergaster.
  4. The first, and so far only, direct asso­ci­a­tion between Homo ergaster (Stw 80) and ear­ly Acheulean tools, at Sterkfontein.
  5. The old­est stone tools (Oldowan) in South­ern Africa, at Sterkfontein.
  6. The only vir­tu­al­ly com­plete Aus­tralo­p­ithe­cus skele­ton, Lit­tle Foot”.
  7. The longest sam­ple of Aus­tralo­p­ithe­cus africanus fos­sils (at Sterkfontein).
  8. The longest sam­ple of Paran­thro­pus robus­tus fos­sils (at Swartkrans).
  9. A great num­ber of cave sites con­tain­ing fos­sils of our ances­tors, their rel­a­tives, and the ani­mals that pop­u­lat­ed their environment.

Return to the Exhi­bi­tion Guide.