Advertisement

A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective on the Age of Australopithecus in Southern Africa

  • Andy I. R. Herries
  • Robyn Pickering
  • Justin W. Adams
  • Darren Curnoe
  • Ginette Warr
  • Alf G. Latham
  • John Shaw
Part of the Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology book series (VERT)

Abstract

This paper presents a review of, and new data concerning, the age of Australopithecus in southern Africa. Current dating suggests that Makapansgat Limeworks is the oldest hominin deposit in southern Africa, with Australopithecus africanus dating to between 3.0 and 2.6 Ma. The Taung Child A. africanus fossil from Taung is most likely penecontemporary with the Makapansgat material between 3.0 and 2.6 Ma. A. africanus from Sterkfontein Member 4 is estimated to date to between 2.6 and 2.0 Ma, with the Sts 5 specimen dating to around 2.0 Ma. The A. africanus deposits from Gladysvale are most likely contemporaneous with the Sterkfontein group with an age between 2.4 and 2.0 Ma. The potential second species of Australopithecus, StW 573 from the Silberberg Grotto at Sterkfontein, is most likely dated to between 2.6 and 2.2 Ma. As such, StW 573 is contemporary with A. africanus fossils from Member 4 and suggest that two contemporary Australopithecus species occurred at Sterkfontein between ~2.6 and 2.0 Ma. Based on the presence of Equus the A. africanus fossils from Jacovec Cavern also likely date to <2.4 Ma. The new Australopithecus sediba-bearing deposits of Malapa date to 1.98 Ma and suggests that three different species of Australopithecus occur in South Africa between 2.3 and 1.9 Ma. Given these dates, A. africanus represents the oldest southern African hominin species being found in two temporally distinct groups of sites, Makapansgat/Taung and Sterkfontein/Gladysvale, and A. sediba is the youngest species at ~1.98 Ma. However, if StW 53 is also Australopithecus, as some have suggested, then this genus survives to younger than 1.8 Ma in South Africa. Australopithecus thus lasted for a significant period of time in southern Africa after the genus is last seen in eastern Africa (Australopithecus garhi at ~2.5 Ma). This new dating indicates that the South African Australopithecus fossils are younger than previously suggested and are contemporary with the earliest suggested representatives of Homo (~2.3 Ma) and Paranthropus (2.7–2.5 Ma) in eastern Africa.

Keywords

Australopithecus africanus Australopithecus sediba Sterkfontein Makapansgat Gladysvale  Taung  Magnetostratigraphy Electron spin resonance Uranium-lead dating 

Notes

Acknowledgments

AIRH would like to thank the organisers of the 4th Annual Stony Brook Human Evolution Symposium (particularly Richard Leakey, Kaye Reed, and John Fleagle) for inviting him to attend that symposium and workshop and asking him to present this paper. Thank you to Ron Clarke, Kathy Kuman, Kevin Kuykendall, Lee Berger, Brian Kuhn, and Rainer Grün, for discussions on this topic and for allowing AIRH to work at the various sites over the years. A particular thank you goes to the late Tim Partridge for inviting me to work at Sterkfontein and for some very fun nights out and interesting discussions on the South African hominin sites over the years. Funding for this research has been provided by the Arts and Humanities Research Board, UNSW Faculty of Medicine, and additionally supported by ARC Discovery Grant DP0877603 and ARC Future Fellowship Grant FT120100399. Additional funding to RP was provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. 20-113658).

References

  1. Adams, J. W., Herries, A. I. R., Hemingway, J., Kegly, A., Kgazi, L., Potze, S., et al. (2010). Initial fossil discoveries from Hoogland, a new Pliocene primate-bearing karstic system in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 59, 685–691.Google Scholar
  2. Ahern, J. (1998). Underestimating intraspecific variation: The problem with excluding Sts 19 from Australopithecus africanus. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 105, 461–480.Google Scholar
  3. Asfaw, B., White, T., Lovejoy, O., Latimer, B., Simpson, S., & Suwa, G. (1999). Australopithecus garhi: A new species of early hominid from Ethiopia. Science, 284, 629–635.Google Scholar
  4. Berger, L. R., & Tobias, P. V. (1994). New discoveries at the early hominid site of Gladysvale, South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 90, 223–226.Google Scholar
  5. Berger, L. R., Lacruz, R., & de Ruiter, D. J. (2002). Revised age estimates of Australopithecus-bearing deposits at Sterkfontein, South Africa. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 119, 192–197.Google Scholar
  6. Berger, L. R., de Ruiter, D. J., Churchill, S. E., Schmid, P., Carlson, K. J., Dirks, P. H. G. M., et al. (2010). Australopithecus sediba: A new species of Homo-like australopith from South Africa. Science, 328, 195–204.Google Scholar
  7. Blackwell, B. A. (1994). Problems associated with reworked teeth in electron spin resonance (ESR) dating. Quaternary Geochronology (Quaternary Science Reviews), 13, 651–660.Google Scholar
  8. Blackwell, B. A. B., Spalding, C. N., Blickstein, J. I. B., Latham, A. G., Quinney, P., Skinner, A. R., et al. (2001). ESR dating the hominid-bearing breccias at the Makapansgat Limeworks Cave, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 40, A3–A4.Google Scholar
  9. Brain, C. K. (1958). The transvaal ape-man-bearing cave deposits. Transvaal Museum Memoir, 11, 1–131.Google Scholar
  10. Brain, C. K. (1993). Swartkrans: A cave’s chronicle of early man. Transvaal Museum Monograph, 8, 1–295.Google Scholar
  11. Brown, F. H., McDougall, I., Davies, I., & Maier, R. (1985). An integrated Plio-Pleistocene chronology for the Turkana basin. In E. Delson (Ed.), Ancestors: The hard evidence (pp. 82–90). New York: Alan R. Liss, Inc.Google Scholar
  12. Butzer, K. W. (1974). Paleoecology of South African australopithecines: Taung revisited. Current Anthropology, 15, 367–382.Google Scholar
  13. Cadman, A., & Rayner, R. J. (1989). Climatic change and the appearance of Australopithecus africanus in the Makapansgat sediments. Journal of Human Evolution, 18, 107–113.Google Scholar
  14. Carlut, J., Valet, J. P., Quidelleur, X., Courtillot, V., Kidane, T., Gallet, Y., et al. (1999). Paleointensity across the Réunion event in Ethiopia. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 170, 17–34.Google Scholar
  15. Clarke, R. J. (1994). On some new interpretations of Sterkfontein stratigraphy. South African Journal of Science, 90, 211–214.Google Scholar
  16. Clarke, R. J. (1998). First ever discovery of a well-preserved skull and associated skeleton of Australopithecus. South African Journal of Science, 94, 460–463.Google Scholar
  17. Clarke, R. J. (1999). Discovery of complete arm and hand of the 3.3 million-year-old Australopithecus skeleton from Sterkfontein. South African Journal of Science, 95, 477–480.Google Scholar
  18. Clarke, R. J. (2002a). On the unrealistic “revised age estimates” for Sterkfontein. South African Journal of Science, 98, 415–419.Google Scholar
  19. Clarke, R. J. (2002b). Newly revealed information of the Sterkfontein M2 Australopithecus skeleton. South African Journal of Science, 98, 523–526.Google Scholar
  20. Clarke, R. J. (2007). A deeper understanding of the stratigraphy of Sterkontein fossil hominid site. Transaction of the Royal Society of South Africa, 61, 111–120.Google Scholar
  21. Clarke, R. J. (2008). Latest information on Sterkfontein’s Australopithecus skeleton and a new look at Australopithecus. South African Journal of Science, 104, 443–449.Google Scholar
  22. Clarke, R. (2013). Australopithecus from Sterkfontein Caves, South Africa. In K. E. Reed, J. G. Fleagle, & R. E. Leakey (Eds.), The paleobiology of Australopithecus (pp. 105–123). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  23. Clarke, R. J., & Tobias, P. V. (1995). Sterkfontein Member 2 foot bones of the oldest South African hominid. Science, 269, 521–524.Google Scholar
  24. Clarke, R. J., Partridge, T. C., Granger, D. E., & Caffe, M. W. (2003). Dating the Sterkfontein fossils. Nature, 301, 596–597.Google Scholar
  25. Cooke, H. B. S. (1990). Taung fossils in the University of California collections. In G. H. Sperber (Ed.), From apes to angels: Essays in anthropology in honor of Phillip V. Tobias (pp. 119–134). New York: Wiley-Liss.Google Scholar
  26. Cooke, H. B. S. (2005). Makapansgat suids and Metridiochoerus. Paleontologia Africana, 41, 131–140.Google Scholar
  27. Crawford, T., McKee, J. K., Kuykendall, K. L., Latham, A. G., & Conroy, G. C. (2004). Recent paleoanthropological excavations of in situ deposits at Makapansgat, South Africa: A first report. Collegium Antropologicum, 28, 43–57.Google Scholar
  28. Curnoe, D. (1999). A contribution to the question of early Homo in southern Africa: Researches into dating, taxonomy and phylogeny reconstruction. Ph.D. Dissertation, The Australian National University.Google Scholar
  29. Curnoe, D. (2010). A review of early Homo in southern Africa focusing on cranial, mandibular and dental remains, with the description of a new species (Homo gautengensis sp. nov.). Homo, 61, 151–177.Google Scholar
  30. Curnoe, D., Herries, A. I. R., Brink, J., Hopley, P., Van Reynveld, K., Henderson, Z., et al. (2006). Discovery of Middle Pleistocene fossil and stone tool-bearing deposits at Groot Kloof, Ghaap Escarpment, Northern Cape Province. South African Journal of Science, 102, 180–184.Google Scholar
  31. Curnoe, D., Grün, R., Taylor, L., & Thackeray, J. F. (2001). Direct ESR dating of a Pliocene hominin from Swartkrans. Journal of Human Evolution, 40, 379–391.Google Scholar
  32. Curnoe, D. C., & Tobias, P. V. T. (2006). Description, new reconstruction, comparative anatomy, and classification of the Sterkfontein Stw 53 cranium, with discussions about the taxonomy of other southern African early Homo remains. Journal of Human Evolution, 50, 36–77.Google Scholar
  33. Dart, R. A. (1925). Australopithecus africanus: The man-ape of South Africa. Nature, 115, 195–199.Google Scholar
  34. Dart, R. A. (1959). A tolerably complete Australopithecine cranium from Makapansgat Pink Breccia. South African Journal of Science, 55, 325–327.Google Scholar
  35. Delson, E. (1988). Chronology of South African australopith site units. In F. E. Grine (Ed.), Evolutionary history of the “robust” australopithecines (pp. 317–324). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  36. Dirks, P. H. D. M., Kibii, J. N., Kuhn, B. F., Steininger, C., Churchill, S. E., Kramers, J. D., et al. (2010). Geological setting and age of Australopithecus sediba from southern Africa. Science, 328, 205–209.Google Scholar
  37. Dupont, L. M., Donner, B., Vidal, L., Pérez, E. M., & Wefer, G. (2005). Linking desert evolution and coastal upwelling: Pliocene climate change in Namibia. Geology, 33, 461–464.Google Scholar
  38. Feibel, C. S., Brown, F. H., & McDougall, I. (1989). Stratigraphic context of fossil hominids from the Omo Group deposits: Northern Turkana Basin, Kenya, Ethiopia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 78, 595–622.Google Scholar
  39. Franceschini, G., & Compton, J. S. (2004). Aeolian and marine deposits of the Tabakbaai Quarry area, western Cape, South Africa. South African Journal of Geology, 107, 619–632.Google Scholar
  40. Geraads, D., Alemseged, Z., Reed, D., Wynn, J., & Roman, D. C. (2004). The Pleistocene fauna (other than Primates) from Asbole, lower Awash Valley, Ethiopia, and its environmental and biochronological implications. Geobios, 37, 697–718.Google Scholar
  41. Gilbert, C. C., & Grine, F. E. (2010). Morphometric variation in the papionin muzzle and the biochronology of the South African Plio-Pleistocene karst cave deposits. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 141, 418–429.Google Scholar
  42. Gommery, D., Thackeray, J. F., Sénégas, F., Potze, S., & Kgasi, L. (2008). The earliest primate (Parapapio sp.) from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site (Waypoint 160, Bolt’s Farm, South Africa). South African Journal of Science, 104, 405–408.Google Scholar
  43. Gordon, G.B. (1925). Discussion on the calcareous tufa deposits of the Campbell Rand. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 28, xxxvii.Google Scholar
  44. Hendey, Q. B. (1981). Paleoecology of the Late Tertiary fossil occurrences in “E” Quarry, Langebaanweg South Africa, and a reinterpretation of their geological context. Annals of the South African Museum, 84, 1–104.Google Scholar
  45. Herries, A. I. R. (2003). Magnetostratigraphic seriation of South African hominin paleocaves. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Liverpool.Google Scholar
  46. Herries, A. I. R., & Latham, A. G. (2009). Archaeomagnetic studies at the Cave of Hearths. In J. McNabb & A. G. M. Sinclair (Eds.), The Cave of Hearths: Makapan Middle Pleistocene research project (pp. 59–64). Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
  47. Herries, A. I. R., & Shaw, J. (2011). Palaeomagnetic analysis of the Sterkfontein palaeocave deposits; age implications for the hominin fossils and stone tool industries. Journal of Human Evolution, 60, 523–539.Google Scholar
  48. Herries, A. I. R., Adams, J. W., Kuykendall, K. L., & Shaw, J. (2006). Speleology and magnetobiostratigraphic chronology of the GD 2 locality of the Gondolin hominin-bearing paleocave deposits, North West Province, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 51, 617–631.Google Scholar
  49. Herries, A. I. R., Curnoe, D., & Adams, J. W. (2009). A multi-disciplinary seriation of early Homo and Paranthropus bearing palaeocaves in southern Africa. Quaternary International, 202, 14–28.Google Scholar
  50. Herries, A. I. R., Hopley, P., Adams, J., Curnoe, D., & Maslin, M. (2010). Geochronology and palaeoenvironments of the South African early hominin bearing sites: A reply to “Wrangham et al. 2009: Shallow-water habitats as sources of fallback foods for hominins”. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 143, 640–646.Google Scholar
  51. Hopley, P. J., Latham, A. G., & Marshall, J. D. (2006). Palaeoenvironments and palaeodiets of mid-Pliocene micromammals from Makapansgat Limeworks, South Africa: A stable isotope and dental microwear approach. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 233, 235–251.Google Scholar
  52. Hopley, P. J., Marshall, J. D., Weedon, G. P., Latham, A. G., Herries, A. I. R., & Kuykendall, K. L. (2007a). Orbital forcing and the spread of C4 grasses in the late Neogene: Stable isotope evidence from South African speleothems. Journal of Human Evolution, 53, 620–634.Google Scholar
  53. Johnson, B. J., Miller, G. H., Fogel, M. L., & Beaumont, P. B. (1997). The determination of late quaternary paleoenvironments at Equus Cave, South Africa, using stable isotopes and amino acid racemization in ostrich eggshell. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 136, 121–137.Google Scholar
  54. Jones, D. L., Brock, A., & McFadden, P. L. (1986). Paleomagnetic results from the Kromdraai and Sterkfontein hominid sites. South African Journal of Science, 82, 160–163.Google Scholar
  55. Kibii, J. M. (2004). Comparative taxonomic, taphonomic and palaeoenvironmental analysis of 4–2.3 million year old Australopithecine cave infills at Sterkfontein. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand.Google Scholar
  56. Kidane, T., Otofuji, Y. I., Brown, F. H., Takemoto, K., & Eshete, G. (2007). Two normal paleomagnetic polarity intervals in the lower Matuyama Chron recorded in the Shungura Formation (Omo Valley, Southwest Ethiopia). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 262, 240–256.Google Scholar
  57. Kimbel, W. H., & Rak, Y. (1993). The importance of species taxa in paleoanthropology and an argument for the phylogenetic concept of the species category. In W. H. Kimbel & L. B. Martin (Eds.), Species, species concepts, and primate evolution (pp. 461–484). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  58. Kimbel, W. H., & White, T. D. (1988). Variation, sexual dimorphism and the taxonomy of Australopithecus. In F. E. Grine (Ed.), Evolutionary history of the “robust” australopithecines (pp. 175–198). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  59. Kimbel, W. H., Walter, R. C., Johanson, D. C., Reed, K. E., Aronson, J. L., Assefa, Z., et al. (1996). Late Pliocene Homo and Oldowan tools from the Hadar Formation (Kada Hadar Member), Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution, 31, 549–561.Google Scholar
  60. Kullmer, O., Sandrock, O., Abel, R., Schrenk, F., Bromage, T. G., & Juwayeyi, Y. M. (1999). The first Paranthropus from the Malawi Rift. Journal of Human Evolution, 37, 121–127.Google Scholar
  61. Kuman, K., & Clarke, R. J. (2000). Stratigraphy, artefact industries and hominid associations for Sterkfontein, M5. Journal of Human Evolution, 38, 827–848.Google Scholar
  62. Lacruz, R. S., Brink, J. S., Hancox, J., Skinner, A. S., Herries, A., Schmidt, P., et al. (2002). Paleontology, geological context and paleoenvironmental implications of a Middle Pleistocene faunal assemblage from the Gladysvale Cave, South Africa. Paleontologia Africana, 38, 99–114.Google Scholar
  63. Latham, A. G., & Herries, A. I. R. (2004). The formation and sedimentary infilling of the Cave of Hearths and Historic Cave Complex. Geoarchaeology, 19, 323–342.Google Scholar
  64. Latham, A. G., & Herries, A. I. R. (2009). The formation and sedimentary infilling of the Cave of Hearths and Historic Cave Complex. In J. McNabb & A. G. M. Sinclair (Eds.), The Cave of Hearths: Makapan Middle Pleistocene research project (pp. 49–58). Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
  65. Latham, A. G., Herries, A., Quinney, P., Sinclair, A., & Kuykendall, K. (1999). The Makapansgat australopithecine site from a speleological perspective. In A. M. Pollard (Ed.), Geoarchaeology: Exploration, environments, resources (pp. 61–77). London: Geological Society.Google Scholar
  66. Latham, A. G., Herries, A. I. R., Sinclair, A. G. M., & Kuykendall, K. (2002). Re-examination of the lower stratigraphy in the classic section, Limeworks site, Makapansgat, South Africa. Human Evolution, 17, 207–214.Google Scholar
  67. Latham, A. G., Herries, A. I. R., & Kuykendall, K. (2003). The formation and sedimentary infilling of the Limeworks Cave, Makapansgat, South Africa. Paleontologia Africana, 39, 69–82.Google Scholar
  68. Latham, A. G., McKee, J., & Tobias, P. V. (2007). The principal bone breccias, sedimentary regimes and bone dumps of the western Limeworks, Makapansgat, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 52, 388–400.Google Scholar
  69. Lockwood, C. A., & Tobias, P. V. (2002). Morphology and affinities of new hominin cranial remains from Member 4 of the Sterkfontein Formation, Gauteng Province, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 42, 389–450.Google Scholar
  70. Maguire, J. M. (1985). Recent geological, stratigraphic, and paleontological studies at Makapansgat Limeworks. In P. V. Tobias (Ed.), Hominid evolution: Past, present and future (pp. 151–164). New York: Alan. R. Liss, Inc.Google Scholar
  71. McFadden, P. L., Brock, A., & Partridge, T. C. (1979). Paleomagnetism and the age of the Makapansgat hominid site. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 44, 373–382.Google Scholar
  72. McKee, J. K. (1993a). Faunal dating of the Taung hominid fossil deposit. Journal of Human Evolution, 25, 363–376.Google Scholar
  73. McKee, J. K. (1993b). Formation and geomorphology of caves in calcareous tufas and implications for the study of the Taung fossil deposits. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 48, 307–322.Google Scholar
  74. McKee, J. K. (1995). Further chronological seriations of southern African Pliocene and Pleistocene mammalian faunal assemblages. Paleontologia Africana, 32, 11–16.Google Scholar
  75. McKee, J. K. (1996). Faunal evidence and Sterkfontein Member 2 foot bones of early hominid. Science, 271, 1301.Google Scholar
  76. McKee, J. K., Thackeray, J. F., & Berger, L. R. (1995). Faunal assemblage seriation of Southern African Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil deposits. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 106, 235–250.Google Scholar
  77. Muzikar, P., & Granger, D. (2006). Combining cosmogenic, stratigraphic, and paleomagnetic information using a Bayesian approach: General results and an application to Sterkfontein. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 243, 400–408.Google Scholar
  78. Ogg, J. G., & Smith, A. G. (2004). The geomagnetic polarity timescale. In F. M. Gradstein, J. G. Ogg, & A. G. Smith (Eds.), A geologic time scale 2004 (pp. 63–86). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Partridge, T. C. (1978). Re-appraisal of lithostratigraphy of Sterkfontein hominid site. Nature, 275, 282–287.Google Scholar
  80. Partridge, T. C. (1979). Re-appraisal of lithostratigraphy of Makapansgat Limeworks hominid site. Nature, 279, 484–488.Google Scholar
  81. Partridge, T. C. (2000). Hominid-bearing cave and tufa deposits. In T. C. Partridge & R. R. Maud (Eds.), The Cenozoic of Southern Africa (pp. 100–125). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Partridge, T. C., Shaw, J., Heslop, D., & Clarke, R. J. (1999). The new hominid skeleton from Sterkfontein, South Africa: Age and preliminary assessment. Journal of Quaternary Science, 14, 293–298.Google Scholar
  83. Partridge, T. C., Latham, A. G., & Heslop, D. (2000). Appendix on magnetostratigraphy of Makapansgat, Sterkfontein, Taung and Swartkrans. In T. C. Partridge & R. R. Maud (Eds.), The Cenozoic of Southern Africa (pp. 126–129). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  84. Partridge, T. C., Granger, D. E., Caffee, M. W., & Clarke, R. J. (2003). Lower Pliocene hominid remains from Sterkfontein. Science, 300, 607–612.Google Scholar
  85. Peabody, F. E. (1954). Travertines and cave deposits of the Kaap escarpment of South Africa, and the type locality of Australopithecus africanus Dart. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 65, 671–706.Google Scholar
  86. Pickering, R. (2009) A new uranium-lead chronology for the early hominin bearing caves of South Africa. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Bern.Google Scholar
  87. Pickering, R., & Kramers, J. (2010). Re-appraisal of the stratigraphy and determination of new U-Pb dates for the Sterkfontein hominin site, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 59, 70–86.Google Scholar
  88. Pickering, T. R., Clarke, R. J., & Heaton, J. L. (2004). The context of Stw 573, an early hominid skull and skeleton from Sterkfontein Member 2: Taphonomy and paleoenvironment. Journal of Human Evolution, 46, 277–295.Google Scholar
  89. Pickering, R., Hancox, P. J., Lee-Thorp, J. A., Grun, R., Mortimer, G. E., McCulloch, M., et al. (2007). Stratigraphy, U-Th chronology, and paleoenvironments at Gladysvale Cave: Insights into the climatic control of South African hominin-bearing cave deposits. Journal of Human Evolution, 53, 602–619.Google Scholar
  90. Pickering, R., Kramers, J. D., Partridge, T., Kodolanyi, J., & Pettke, T. (2010). U-Pb dating of calcite-aragonite layers in speleothems from hominin sites in South Africa by MC-ICP-MS. Quaternary Geochronology, 5, 544–558.Google Scholar
  91. Pickering, R., Dirks, P., Jinnah, Z., de Ruiter, D. J., Churchill, S. E., Herries, A. I. R., et al. (2011a). Australopithecus sediba at 1.977 Ma and implications for the origins of the genus Homo. Science, 333, 1421–1423.Google Scholar
  92. Pickering, R., Kramers, J. D., Hancox, P. J., de Ruiter, D. J., & Woodhead, J. D. (2011b). Contemporary flowstone development links early hominin bearing cave deposits in South Africa. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 306, 23–32.Google Scholar
  93. Pickford, M. (2004). Revision of the Early Miocene Hyracoidea (Mammalia) of East Africa. Comptes Rendus Palevol, 3, 675–690.Google Scholar
  94. Plug, I., & Keyser, A. W. (1994). A preliminary report on the bovid species from recent excavations at Gladysvale, South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 90, 357–359.Google Scholar
  95. Pocock, T. N. (1987). Plio-Pleistocene fossil mammalian microfauna of southern Africa: A preliminary report including description of two new fossil muroid genera (mammalia: rodentia). Paleontologia Africana, 26, 69–91.Google Scholar
  96. Ramirez Rozzi, F. V., Bromage, T., & Schrenk, F. (1997). UR 501, the Plio-Pleistocene hominid from Malawi. Analysis of the microanatomy of the enamel. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences - Series IIA, Earth and Planetary Science, 325, 231–234.Google Scholar
  97. Reed, K. E. (1996). The paleoecology of Makapansgat and other African Plio-Pleistocene hominid localities. Ph.D. Dissertation, Stony Brook University.Google Scholar
  98. Reed, K. E., Kitching, J. W., Grine, F. E., Jungers, W. L., & Sokoloff, L. (1993). Proximal femur of Australopithecus africanus from Member 4, Makapansgat, South Africa. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 92, 1–15.Google Scholar
  99. Reynolds, S. C., Clarke, R. J., & Kuman, K. A. (2007). The view from the Lincoln Cave: Mid- to late Pleistocene fossil deposits from Sterkfontein hominid site, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 53, 260–271.Google Scholar
  100. Reynolds, S. C. and Kibii, J. M. (2011). Sterkfontein at 75: review of paleoenvironments, fauna, dating and archaeology from the hominin site of Sterkfontein (Gauteng Province, South Africa). Palaeontologia africana, 55, 59–88.Google Scholar
  101. Roberts, D. L. (2006). Lithostratigraphy of the Varswater Formation. South African Committee for Stratigraphy-Lithostratigraphic Series, 9, 27–31.Google Scholar
  102. Schwarcz, H. P., Grün, R., & Tobias, P. V. (1994). ESR dating of the australopithecine site of Sterkfontein, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 26, 175–181.Google Scholar
  103. Schwartz, G. T. (1997). Taxonomic and functional aspects of enamel cap structure in South African Plio-Pleistocene hominids: A high-resolution computed tomographic study. Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington University.Google Scholar
  104. Smith, H. F., & Grine, F. E. (2008). Cladistic analysis of early Homo crania from Swartkrans and Sterkfontein, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 54, 684–704.Google Scholar
  105. Suwa, G., White, T. D., & Howell, F. C. (1996). Mandibular postcanine dentition from the Shungura Formation, Ethiopia: Crown morphology, taxonomic allocations, and Plio-Pleistocene hominid evolution. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 101, 247–282.Google Scholar
  106. Suwa, G., Asfaw, B., Beyene, Y., White, T. D., Katoh, S., Nagaoka, S., et al. (1997). The first skull of Australopithecus boisei. Nature, 389, 489–492.Google Scholar
  107. Tobias, P.V., Vogel, P.C., Oschadleus, H.D., Partridge, T.C. and McKee, J.K. (1993). New isotopic and sedimentological measurements of the Thabaseek deposits (South Africa) and the dating of the Taung hominid. Quaternary Research, 40, 360- 367.Google Scholar
  108. Tobias, P. V., & Clarke, R. J. (1996). Reply to J. K. McKee, Faunal evidence and Sterkfontein Member 2 foot bones of early hominid. Science, 271, 1301–1302.Google Scholar
  109. Turner, A. (1997). Further remains of Carnivora (Mammalia) from the Sterkfontein hominid site. Paleontologia Africana, 34, 115–126.Google Scholar
  110. Vogel. J.C., Partridge, T.C. 1984. Preliminary radiometric ages for the Taung tufas. In J.C. Vogel (ed.) Late Cainozoic palaeoclimates of southern hemisphere. Balkema; Boston: 507–514.Google Scholar
  111. Vrba, E. S. (1982). Biostratigraphy and chronology, based particularly on Bovidae, of southern hominid-associated assemblages: Makapansgat, Sterkfontein, Taung, Kromdraai, Swartkrans; and also Elandsfontein (Saldanha), Broken Hill (now Kabwe) and Cave of Hearths. Proceedings of the 1st International Congress of Human Paleontology, 2, 707–752.Google Scholar
  112. Vrba, E. S. (1988). Late Pliocene climatic event and hominid evolution. In F. E. Grine (Ed.), Evolutionary history of the “robust” australopithecines (pp. 405–426). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  113. Vrba, E. S. (1995). The fossil record of African antelopes (Mammalia, Bovidae) in relation to human evolution and paleoclimate. In E. S. Vrba, G. H. Denton, T. C. Partridge, & L. H. Burckle (Eds.), Paleoclimate and evolution, with emphasis on human origins (pp. 385–424). New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  114. Vrba, E. S. (2000). Major features of Neogene mammalian evolution in Africa. In T. C. Partridge & R. R. Maud (Eds.), The Cenozoic of Southern Africa (pp. 277–304). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  115. Walker, J. (2005). Uranium-Lead dating of hominid fossil sites in South Africa. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Leeds.Google Scholar
  116. Walker, A., Leakey, R. E., Harris, J. M., & Brown, F. H. (1986). 2.5-Myr Australopithecus boisei from west Lake Turkana, Kenya. Nature, 322, 517–522.Google Scholar
  117. Walker, J., Cliff, R. A., & Latham, A. G. (2006). U-Pb isotopic age of the Stw 573 hominid from Sterkfontein, South Africa. Science, 314, 1592–1594.Google Scholar
  118. Warr, G. L., & Latham, A. G. (2007). Normal magnetic polarity provenance for MLD 37/38, an in situ hominin from the Makapansgat Limeworks, South Africa. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, S44, 244.Google Scholar
  119. Wells, L. H., & Cooke, H. B. S. (1956). Fossil Bovidae from the Limeworks Quarry, Makapansgat Potgietersrus. Paleontologia Africana, 4, 1–55.Google Scholar
  120. White, T. D., Howell, F. C., & Gilbert, H. (2006). The earliest Metridiochoerus (Artiodactyla, Suidae) from the Usno Formation, Ethiopia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 61, 75–80.Google Scholar
  121. Wood, B. A., & Richmond, B. G. (2000). Human evolution: Taxonomy and paleobiology. Journal of Anatomy, 196, 19–60.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andy I. R. Herries
    • 1
  • Robyn Pickering
    • 2
  • Justin W. Adams
    • 3
  • Darren Curnoe
    • 4
  • Ginette Warr
    • 5
  • Alf G. Latham
    • 5
  • John Shaw
    • 5
  1. 1.Australian Archaeomagnetism Laboratory, Archaeology Program, School of Historical and European Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Earth SciencesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Anatomy and Developmental BiologyMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  4. 4.School of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia
  5. 5.School of Archaeology, Classics and EgyptologyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations