Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

A fossil skull probably of the genus Homo from Sterkfontein, Transvaal

Abstract

A skull with numerous Homo features was discovered at Sterkfontein, near Krugersdorp, Transvaal, in August 1976. It stems from member 5 of the Sterkfontein Formation, with stone tools and with fauna pointing to an age of 2.0–1.5 Myr. The underlying member 4 contains Australopithecus africanus, no stone tools, and fauna dated 3.0–2.5 Myr. The new find supports the view that the Sterkfontein toolmaker was not the earlier A. africanus, but a later hominid related to Homo habilis.

By a remarkable double coincidence, the first pieces of the new skull, Stw 53, were found on August 9, 1976, 40 years to the day after Robert Broom's first visit to Sterkfontein, while the last part came to light on August 17, the 40th anniversary of Broom's first discovery of a hominid cranium at Sterkfontein. Although most of the fragments were found in a decalcified pocket of cave earth, one large part of the calvaria was still present in the calcified wall of the pocket, thus establishing indisputably the provenance of the specimen.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. Tobias, P. V., and Hughes, A. R., S. Afr. archaeol. Bull., 24, 158–169 (1969).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Leakey, L. S. B., Tobias, P. V., and Napier, J. R., Nature, 202, 7–9 (1964).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Robinson, J. T., S. Afr. J. Sci., 57, 3–16 (1961).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Vrba, E. S., Nature, 250, 19–23 (1974).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Vrba, E. S., Nature, 254, 301–304 (1975).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Robinson, J. T., S. Afr. archaeol. Bull., 17, 87–107 (1962).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Tobias, P. V., S. Afr. archaeol. Bull., 20, 167–192 (1965).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Robinson, J. T., A. J. phys. Anthrop., 11 (n.s.), 445–502 (1953).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Clarke, R. J., and Howell, F. C., Am. J. phys. Anthrop., 37, 319–336 (1972).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Sperber, G., thesis, Univ. Witwatersrand (1973).

  11. Howell, F. C., and Coppens, Y., in Earliest Man, and Environments in the Lake Rudolph Basin (edit. by Coppens, Y., Howell, F. C., Isaac, G.L., and Leakey, R.E.F.) (Chicago University Press, 1976).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Curtis, G. H., Drake, R. E., Cerling, T. E., Cerling, B. L., and Hampel, J. H., Nature, 258, 395–398 (1975).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hughes, A., Tobias, P. A fossil skull probably of the genus Homo from Sterkfontein, Transvaal. Nature 265, 310–312 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1038/265310a0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/265310a0

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing