- July 4, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
The fossils of our earlier human ancestors, located in a cave in South Africa, are a million years older than previously understood according to a new study
- Australopithecus, meaning “southern ape”, was a group of hominins or now-extinct early humans, that was closely related to and almost certainly the ancestors of modern humans.
- Our early ancestors were bipedal in nature and travelled on the ground (but used trees for food and protection), had large teeth with thick enamel caps for chewing, and their brains were only slightly larger than apes. The facial and dental features suggest that they were able to consume tough foods, such as nuts, seeds, tubers and roots.
- Sterkfontein caves
- The “Cradle of Humankind” is a 47,000-hectare paleoanthropological site, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.It contains a complex system of limestone caves, where a significant number of hominin fossils have been found.
- These include, “MrsPles”, the popular name for the most complete skull of an Australopithecus africanus ever to be found in South Africa, and “Little Foot”, a nearly complete Australopithecus skeleton.
- By dating the Australopithecus africanus found in the Sterkfontein caves to 3.4 to 3.7 million years ago, these hominins would be even older than the famed Lucy (also known as Dinkinesh), the most famous ancestor of modern humans, of the Australopithecus afarensis species.
- Means that human evolution did not follow a simple line that emerged from one species alone. Instead, our ancestry is “more like a bush,”