HISTORY

The Cradle of Humankind was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 thanks to the many well preserved homonin fossils found in its dolomitic caves and cave remnants. It all started back in 1924 when Prof. Raymond Dart, identified a fossil found at the Buxton Limeworks in the Northern Cape, as a homonin – it possessed both apelike and humanlike characteristics. Great scepticism met Darts discovery of the Taung Child as scientists at the time believed humans evolved in south eastern Europe or in Indonesia. This changed in 1936 when Dr. Robert Broom discovered fossils of Australopithecus Africanus at Sterfontein Caves. Since then many more homonin fossils like Mrs. Ples, Little Foot, Sediba and Homo Naledi have been unearthed in the Cradle. Together these finds make the Cradle of Humankind the richest source of homonin fossils on the planet. The National Geographic Explorers unit has now mapped over a 1000 caves in the Cradle and more finds and announcements are expected in the months and years to come.