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Taung skull

Taung skull

E437/0006

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Credit

JOHN READER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN READER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The original type specimen of Australopithecus africanus, known also as the Taung specimen, discovered in 1924 at a lime quarry near Taung in South Africa. It was described in 1925 by Raymond Dart, professor of anatomy at Witwatersrand University. The specimen was reassembled from the partial remains of a juvenile skull, and an endocast of the right half of the brain (background), formed by the petrification of sediments which filled the cranium after death. Dart's claim that A. africanus was an ancestor of man was ridiculed until Robert Broom's discoveries in 1940 showed that the australopithecines were indeed hominids.

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