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Hominid models at the Sterkfontein visitors centre | © flowcomm/Flickr
Hominid models at the Sterkfontein visitors centre | © flowcomm/Flickr

What South Africa's Caves Can Tell You About Humankind

Picture of Gill Lange
Updated: 5 December 2017
Some of the earliest evidence of human life can be found scattered over the scrub land of South Africa, with many caves holding a wealth of information when it comes to unraveling the much debated origins of our ancestors. While the Leakeys first struck archaeological gold in East Africa in the late 1950s, recent discoveries in South Africa have seen a resurgence in the country’s claim to be the true birthplace of humankind. Read more about the caves that hold important pieces of this complex and mysterious jigsaw puzzle.

The Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of Humankind is one of South Africa’s eight world heritage sites and thought to house some 40 percent of the world’s human ancestor fossils, making it one of the richest and most important on the entire planet. It consists of a complex of limestone caves where, over the years, conditions have allowed for the formation and preservation of fossils. Some that have been unearthed are in excess of three and a half million years old and there are more than 24 fossil-bearing caves in the area.

Display inside The Cradle of Humankind