Haasgat is a fossiliferous South African paleocave located in the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Area, approx. 20 kilometres northeast of the sites of Sterkfontein and Swartkrans. 60 kilometres north-northwest of the City of Johannesburg and it is located on private land and is not accessible by the public. The cave system formed on the slope of a narrow. As is the case many of the dolomitic paleocaves in the region. Although this mining obliterated the original entrance and parts of the system. While Haasgat was long known to residents of the Kalkheuvel West region, the site was abandoned after this single phase of sampling and data from the site has rarely been incorporated into studies of South African Plio-Pleistocene fossil record. Since 2010, an international team has initiated a new phase of ex situ and in situ excavation, geological sampling. Subsequent biostratigraphic interpretations of the fauna processed from the ex situ dumpsites produced two different proposed age ranges and this suggests an age between 2.3 and 1.95 Ma for the majority of fossils from the site
It is situated within the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and is itself a South African National Heritage Site. Gladysvale is the first cave that Robert Broom visited in the Transvaal in his mid-1930s search for a hominid-bearing cave nearer to Johannesburg than Taung and he visited Gladysvale after a butterfly collector from the Transvaal Museum reported a human mandible in the wall of the cave. When Broom arrived at the cave the mandible was gone, sterkfontein soon lured Broom away from the site. In 1946 Phillip Tobias led a student expedition to the site where a fine baboon fossil was recovered, in 1948 Frank Peabody of the Camp-Peabody expedition from the United States spent several weeks at Gladysvale but failed to find any hominid remains. The site was lost from scientific memory until it was re-opened by Lee Berger, within a few weeks of excavation the first hominid remains were discovered – two teeth of Australopithecus africanus. This discovery made Gladysvale the first new hominid site to be discovered in South Africa since 1948.
Many thousands of fossils have been recovered from the Gladysvale deposits including rare remains of hominids, from the Gladysvale external deposits, almost a quarter of a million bones have been recovered since excavations began in 1992. There are many millions of bones still in place in the cave, fossils recovered include antelope, giant zebra, carnivores including extinct wolves and hominids attributed to Australopithecus africanus and early Homo. Tools have found with the most spectacular being an Acheulean handaxe. The site is divided into three underground cave systems with the upper cave holding the Gladysvale Internal Deposits and an External Deposit. Gladysvale was one of the first sites in Africa to be 3-D digitally mapped by Peter Schmid, the Gladysvale sequence has been dated using a combination of biostratigraphy, electron spin resonance and uranium series dating. The youngest deposits are thought to be around 54,000 years old while the oldest deposits that are the source of the Au. africanus fossils are around 2. 4–2.0 million years old.
The Gladysvale External deposits contain extensive faunal remains and date to between 780,000 and 530,000 years ago, an Acheulian handaxe was recovered from internal deposits older than the Bruhnes-Matuyama boundary at 780,000 years. Media related to Gladysvale Cave at Wikimedia Commons The Gladysvale Homepage
Ronald J. Clarke
Ronald J. Clarke is a paleoanthropologist most notable for the discovery of Little Foot, an extraordinarily complete skeleton of Australopithecus, in the Sterkfontein Caves. A more technical description of various aspects of his description of the Australopithecus skeleton was published in the Journal of Quaternary Science and he discovered the Homo ergaster partial cranium SK847. He played a role in the discovery of a new skeleton of Homo habilis related to Homo rudolfensis and he rejoined the University of the Witwatersrands Institute for Human Evolution, where he remains as of present
Motsetsi has been declared a South African National Heritage Site. Motsetsi has been investigated since its discovery by Lee Berger in 1999, since a series of part-time excavations have recovered tens of thousands of fossils. Excavations have been conducted at Motsetse by the University of the Witwatersrand, only a very small part of this site has been excavated. Of the many thousands of fossils recovered from Motsetsi, no fossils have yet been found. Many very fine fossils of animals, have been discovered including the remains of very well preserved Dinofelis fossils – a type of false saber-toothed cat. Motsetse is a series of breccia-filled dolomitic caves that formed in a fissure along a geological fault, Motsetsi has been dated to 1. o to 1.6 million years old based on the animals recovered
Homo naledi is an extinct species of hominin, which anthropologists first described in 2015 and have assigned to the genus Homo. In 2013, fossil skeletons were found in South Africas Gauteng province, in the Rising Star Cave system, as of 10 September 2015, fossils of at least fifteen individuals, amounting to over 1550 specimens, have been excavated from the cave. The skeletal anatomy presents ancestral features known from australopithecines with more recent features associated with hominins, the fossils have not been chronometrically dated, but estimates derived from statistical analysis of cranial traits have yielded a range of 2 million years to 912,000 years before present. The fossils were discovered by recreational cavers Rick Hunter and Steven Tucker in 2013, other experts contend more analyses are needed to support this classification. There are some indications that the individuals may have been placed in the cave near the time of their death. The word naledi means star in the Sotho language and it, and the corresponding name Dinaledi Chamber, were chosen to reference the Rising Star cave system where the fossils were found.
This chute led to a room 30 m underground, the surface of which was littered with fossil bones, before exploring the cave that day, the cavers had been asked by fellow caver and geologist Pedro Boshoff to let him know if they came across any fossils. On October 1,2013, photos were shown to Boshoff who recognized their significance, in total, over 1,550 pieces of bone belonging to at least fifteen individuals have been recovered from the clay-rich sediments. The layered distribution of the bones suggests that they had deposited over a long time. Only one square meter of the chamber has been excavated. Around 300 bone fragments were collected from the surface of the Dinaledi Chamber, the fossils include skulls, ribs, bones of an almost complete foot, of a hand, and of an inner ear. The bones of old and infants were found, the description of the new species was announced at a press conference on September 10,2015 held at Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. A display case of the fossils was unveiled during the ceremony and was subsequently on display to the public at Maropeng throughout September and October 2015, the University of the Witwatersrand is the curator of the fossils.
The skeletal anatomy displays plesiomorphic features found in the australopithecines and more apomorphic features known from hominins, adult males are estimated to have stood around 150 cm tall and weighed around 45 kg, while females would likely have been a little shorter and weighed a little less. An analysis of H. naledis skeleton suggests it stood upright and was bipedal and its hip mechanics, the flared shape of the pelvis are similar to australopithecines, but its legs and ankles are more similar to the genus Homo. The hands of H. naledi appear to have better suited for object manipulation than those of australopithecines. Some of the bones resemble modern human bones, and other bones are more primitive than Australopithecus, the thumb and palm bones are modern-like while the fingers are curved, more australopithecine, and useful for climbing. The shoulders are configured largely like those of australopithecines, the vertebrae are most similar to Pleistocene members of the genus Homo, whereas the ribcage is wide distally like A. afarensis
Australopithecus sediba is a species of Australopithecus of the early Pleistocene, identified based on fossil remains dated to about 2 million years ago. The fossils were found together at the bottom of the Malapa Cave, where they fell to their death. Over 220 fragments from the species have recovered to date. MH1 is disarticulated and 34% complete if skeletal elements known to be in a block are included while MH2 is 45. 6% complete. Australopithecus sediba may have lived in savannas but ate fruit and other foods from the similar to modern-day savanna chimpanzees. The conditions in which the individuals were buried and fossilized were extraordinary, the first specimen of A. sediba was found by paleoanthropologist Lee Bergers nine-year-old son, Matthew, on August 15,2008. While exploring near his fathers dig site in the hills north of Johannesburg, on the Malapa Nature Reserve. The boy alerted his father to the find, who could not believe what he saw — a hominid clavicle, upon turning the block over, sticking out of the back of the rock was a mandible with a tooth, a canine, sticking out.
And I almost died, he recalled, the fossil turned out to belong to a 4 ft 2 in juvenile male, whose skull was discovered in March 2009 by Bergers team. The find was announced to the public on April 8,2010, found at the Malapa archeological site were a variety of animal fossils, including saber-toothed cats and antelopes. Berger and geologist Paul Dirks speculated that the animals might have fallen into a deep 100–150-foot death-trap, the bodies may have been swept into a pool of water with a sandy bottom and rich with lime, allowing the remains to become fossilized. The fossil was dated using a combination of palaeomagnetism and uranium-lead dating which showed that the fossils are no older than ~2.0 Ma, the presence of animal species which became extinct at ~1.5 Ma indicates the deposit is no younger than 1.5 Ma. The sediments have a normal polarity and the only major period between 2.0 and 1.5 Ma when this occurred is the Olduvai sub-Chron between 1.95 and 1.78 Ma. Accordingly, the fossils were dated to ~1.95 Ma.
Recent dating of a capping flowstone demonstrated this was not possible, the cusp spacing is more like Australopithecus. The femur and tibia are fragmentary, but the foot combines an advanced anklebone combined with a primitive heel and its cranial capacity is estimated at around 420–450 cm3, about one-third that of modern humans. A. sediba had a modern hand, whose precision grip suggests it might have been another tool-making Australopithecus. Evidence of the precision gripping and stone tool production can be seen from Homo-like features such as having a long thumb, the nearly complete wrist and hand of an adult female from Malapa, South Africa presents Australopithecus-like features, such as a strong flexor apparatus associated with arboreal locomotion
A holotype is a single physical example of an organism, known to have been used when the species was formally described. It is either the single such physical example or one of several such, under the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, a holotype is one of several kinds of name-bearing types. In the International Code of Nomenclature for algae and plants and ICZN the definitions of types are similar in intent but not identical in terminology or underlying concept. For example, the holotype for the butterfly Lycaeides idas longinus is a specimen of that species. An isotype is a duplicate of the holotype and is made for plants. A holotype is not necessarily typical of that taxon, although ideally it should be, sometimes just a fragment of an organism is the holotype, particularly in the case of a fossil. For example, the holotype of Pelorosaurus humerocristatus, a herbivorous dinosaur from the early Jurassic period, is a fossil leg bone stored at the Natural History Museum in London.
Even if a specimen is subsequently found, the holotype is not superseded. Under the ICN, an additional and clarifying type could be designated, an epitype under Article 9.8, a conserved type is sometimes used to correct a problem with a name which has been misapplied, this specimen replaces the original holotype. In the absence of a holotype, another type may be selected, out of a range of different kinds of type, depending on the case, a lectotype or a neotype. For example, in both the ICN and the ICZN a neotype is a type that was appointed in the absence of the original holotype. This made the name Parasuchus hislopi a nomen dubium, texan paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee proposed that a new type specimen, a complete skeleton, be designated. The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature considered the case and agreed to replace the type specimen with the proposed neotype. Type Allotype Paratype Type species Genetypes- genetic sequence data from type specimens, BOA Photographs of type specimens of Neotropical Rhopalocera
Phillip V. Tobias
Phillip Vallentine Tobias FRS was a South African palaeoanthropologist and Professor Emeritus at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He was best known for his work at South Africas hominid fossil sites and he was an activist for the eradication of apartheid and gave numerous anti-apartheid speeches at protest rallies and to academic audiences. In 1945, he started his career as demonstrator in histology and he received his Bachelor of Science in Histology and Physiology in 1946–1947. In 1948 he was elected the first President of the National Union of South African Students and he graduated in Medicine, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in 1950. He was appointed as a lecturer in anatomy in 1951, in 1953, he received his Doctor of Philosophy for a thesis entitled Chromosomes, Sex-Cells, and Evolution in the Gerbil. In 1955, Tobias started his research at the University of Cambridge, England. The following year, at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Chicago, he was the Rockefeller Traveling Fellow in anthropology, human genetics, and dental anatomy and growth.
In 1959, he became Professor and Head of the Department of Anatomy and Human Biology, succeeding his mentor and eminent scholar, in 1967, he was awarded a Doctor of Science in palaeoanthropology for his work on hominid evolution. During this period he attended the University of the Witwatersrand and he was Dean of Medicine from 1980 to 1982. He was appointed Honorary Professor of Palaeoanthropology at the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research in 1977, in 1981, Tobias became a founding member of the World Cultural Council. Tobias excavated at the Sterkfontein caves and worked at almost all major sites in Southern Africa since 1945. He opened some 25 archaeological sites in Botswana during the French Panhard-Capricorn Expedition while conducting a survey of the Tonga People of Zimbabwe. He was one of the instrumental in unmasking the Piltdown fraud. His research has mainly in the fields of paleoanthropology and the human biology of Africas various populations. He has studied the Kalahari San, the Tonga people of Zambia and Zimbabwe and his best known work was on the hominids of East Africa, particularly those of the Olduvai Gorge.
Collaborating with Louis Leakey, Tobias identified and named the new species Homo habilis, Cambridge University Press published two volumes on the fossils of Homo habilis from the Olduvai Gorge. He is closely linked with the excavation at the Sterkfontein site. This site has yielded the largest single sample of Australopithecus africanus as well as the first known example of Homo habilis from Southern Africa and it is now a World Heritage Site
Several revisions in classifying the great apes have caused the use of the term hominid to vary over time. Its original meaning referred only to humans and their closest non-extant relatives and that restrictive meaning has now been largely assumed by the term hominin, which comprises all members of the human clade after the split from the chimpanzees. The current, 21st-century meaning of hominid includes all the great apes including humans, the most recent common ancestor of all Hominidae lived roughly 14 million years ago, when the ancestors of the orangutans speciated from the ancestral line of the other three genera. Those ancestors of the family Hominidae had already speciated from the family Hylobatidae, in the early Miocene, about 22 million years ago, there were many species of arboreally adapted primitive catarrhines from East Africa, the variety suggests a long history of prior diversification. Fossils at 20 million years ago include fragments attributed to Victoriapithecus, the most recent of these far-flung Miocene apes is Oreopithecus, from the fossil-rich coal beds in northern Italy and dated to 9 million years ago.
Species close to the last common ancestor of gorillas and humans may be represented by Nakalipithecus fossils found in Kenya and Ouranopithecus found in Greece. Molecular evidence suggests that between 8 and 4 million years ago, first the gorillas, and the split off from the line leading to the humans. Human DNA is approximately 98. 4% identical to that of chimpanzees when comparing single nucleotide polymorphisms, the earliest fossils argued by some to belong to the human lineage are Sahelanthropus tchadensis and Orrorin tugenensis, followed by Ardipithecus, with species Ar. kadabba and Ar. ramidus. The classification of the apes has been revised several times in the last few decades. The original meaning of the referred to only humans and their closest relatives—what is now the modern meaning of the term hominin. And the meaning of the taxon Hominidae changed gradually, leading to a different usage of hominid that today all the great apes including humans. A hominid is a member of the family Hominidae, the apes, gorillas, chimpanzees.
A hominine is a member of the subfamily Homininae, chimpanzees, a hominin is a member of the tribe Hominini and humans. A homininan is a member of the subtribe Hominina of the tribe Hominini, a human is a member of the genus Homo, of which Homo sapiens is the only extant species, and within that Homo sapiens sapiens is the only surviving subspecies. For each clade it is indicated approximately when newer extant clades emerged, some texts will refer to Homonini as the Hominina branch. Many scientists, including paleoanthropologists, continue to use the term hominid to mean humans, as mentioned, Hominidae was originally the name given to the family of humans and their close relatives, with the other great apes all being placed in a separate family, the Pongidae. However, that eventually made Pongidae paraphyletic because at least one great ape species proved to be more closely related to humans than to other great apes. Most taxonomists today encourage monophyletic groups—this would require, in this case, many biologists now assign Pongo to the family Hominidae
The archaeological sites of Swartkrans and Kromdraai are in the same area. Sterkfontein is a South African National Heritage Site and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000. The Sterkfontein Caves are home to numerous wild African species including Belonogaster petiolata, numerous early hominin remains have been found at the site over the last few decades. These have been attributed to Australopithecus, early Homo and Paranthropus, modern excavation of the caves began in the late 1890s by limestone miners who noticed the fossils and brought them to the attention of scientists. It was not until 1936 that students of Professor Raymond Dart, in 1936, the Sterkfontein caves yielded the first adult Australopithecine, substantially strengthening Raymond Darts claim that the skull known as the Taung child was a human ancestor. There was a pause in excavation during World War II, in 1947 he found the almost complete skull of an adult female A. africanus. Robert Broom initially named the skull Plesianthropus transvaalensis, but it became known by its nickname.
Mrs Ples is now defined as a member of A. africanus, in 1997, a near complete skeleton of a second species of Australopithecus was found in the caves by Ronald J. Clarke, extraction of the remains from the surrounding breccia is ongoing. The skeleton was named Little Foot, since the first parts found were the bones of a foot, excavations continue to this day and finds now total some 500 hominids, making Sterkfontein one of the richest site in the world for early hominids. The Member 4 deposits containing the Australopithecus africanus fossils have been dated to between 2.6 and 2.0 Ma, with the Sts5 Mrs Ples fossil estimated to date to between 2. 05-2. It is estimated to be around 2. 6-2.2 Ma based on a combination of uranium-lead dating and palaeomagnetic analysis and belongs to a species of australopith. In contrast, surface exposure dating of sediments indicate that skeleton StW573 has an age of approximately 4 million years. While the flowstone dated in the dating has been shown to have formed than the fossil.
The palaeomagnetic analysis remains the most credible age estimate based on the current data as it included work on both sediments and speleothem, a slightly younger deposit dated to between 1.8 to 1.5 Mya has revealed the remains of a specimen of early Homo. StW53 has been described as similar to Homo habilis or as a new species Homo gautengensis. No stone tools were associated with the fossil but StW53 itself has evidence for stone tool cut-marks, Member 5 contains Oldowan and Acheulian stone tools as well as specimens of early Homo and Paranthropus and is dated to between 1.6 and 1.1 Mya. Cradle of Humankind List of caves in South Africa Muldersdrift About Sterkfontein Caves
Elisabeth S. Vrba is a paleontologist at Yale University. Vrba earned her Ph. D. in Zoology and Palaeontology at the University of Cape Town and she is well known for developing the Turnover Pulse Hypothesis, as well as coining the word exaptation with colleague Stephen Jay Gould. Her specific interest is in the Family Bovidae, but her current graduate students are studying a range of species. She has been a faculty member at the Department of Geology & Geophysics, Yale University and she is married and has a daughter. She is renowned as both a researcher and a teacher and her teaching practises and personality were written about by a student named Roberto Rozzi. Vrba and colleague Stephen Jay Gould are renowned for their theory of exaptation, genetic adaptations may take on new functions and may serve a species a different purpose further on in evolution. Vrba constructed the turnover-pulse hypothesis, a significant addition to Macroevolutionary theory, Gould, S. J. and S. Vrba. Exaptation—a missing term in the science of form, evolving Vocabulary, the rise and fall of exaptation International Innovation, September 18,2015, http, //www. internationalinnovation. com/evolving-vocabulary-the-rise-and-fall-of-exaptation/.
Lewis, R. Surveying the Genomic Landscape of Modern Mammals, DNA Science Blog, exaptation of the Guitar Guitar International, September 17,2010, http, //guitarinternational. com/2010/09/17/exaptation-of-the-guitar/. More Evidence on the Real Nature of Evolutionary DNA Change, Huffington Post, The Blog, shell, E. R. Waves of Creation. Vrba, E. S. and Gould, S. J, the hierarchical expansion of sorting and selection