Caves of the Ape-men: South Africa's Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site

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Witwatersrand University Press, 2010 - Science - 149 pages
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The unique fossils featured in this book were excavated from caves which today are clustered within the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Cradle of Humankind. This is the first ever profusely illustrated hardback coffee table book dealing with Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and environs in an easy to follow and entertaining style. The fact that it was written by three people, Ronald J. Clarke, Timothy C. Partridge and Kathleen Kuman, who have worked extensively on these sites and their contents over many years, ensures the authenticity of the information provided on fossils, geology and archaeology. Although a book primarily for the interested general public, it will also appeal to colleagues in the field of palaeo-anthropology in view of its thought-provoking viewpoints and visual record of so many fossils and artefacts. Following an introductory chapter that outlines the importance of the study of human origins and the Cradle of Humankind, there are eight chapters dealing with various topics associated with the caves. The first chapter on Discovery provides fascinating glimpses into why we are interested in our past and how early investigators looked for the clues to human origins. Other chapters explain the landscape, geology and dating of the caves, the ape-men Australopithecus (including the complete skeleton of Little Foot) and Paranthropus, the stone tools and early Homo fossils, the fossil animals and plants, the importance of environmental conservation and the facilities available to visitors to the Cradle of Humankind. All of this is accompanied by colour photographs and black and white drawings, most of which have never appeared in any other book.

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About the author (2010)

Ronald J. Clarke is a reader in palaeoanthropology in the Institute for Human Evolution and the School of Anatomical Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Timothy C. Partridge was an earth scientist at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

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