Skletal remains of Australopithecus africanus

Skletal remains of Australopithecus africanus

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Credit: JOHN READER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Adult skeletal remains of Australopithecus africanus (STS 14) found by Robert Broom in 1947 in cave deposits at Sterkfontein in South Africa. The photograph shows a nearly complete pelvis and vertebral column with legbone fragments. This find provided the fossil evidence that the Australopithecines had an upright stance & bipedal gait, thereby establishing them as the oldest known group of hominids. The group dates from 3.7 to 1.6 million years ago & was widely distributed through Africa. Three species & two distinct types - gracile and robust - are known; the former were lightly-built and omnivorous, the latter heavily- built and vegetarian.

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Keywords: anthropology, australopithecus africanus, broom, discovery, earliest hominid, fossil man, fossil site, hominid, hominids, hominin, palaeoanthropology, palaeontology, paleoanthropology, paleontology, robert, skeleton, south africa

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