Re-appraisal of the stratigraphy and determination of new U-Pb dates for the Sterkfontein hominin site, South Africa

Journal of Human Evolution
Robyn Pickering, Jan D Kramers


Sterkfontein Caves is the single richest early hominin site in the world with deposits yielding one or more species of Australopithecus and possible early Homo, as well as an extensive faunal collection. The inability to date the southern African cave sites accurately or precisely has hindered attempts to integrate the hominin fossil evidence into pan-African scenarios about human evolutionary history, and especially hominin biogeography. We have used U-Pb and U-Th techniques to date sheets of calcium carbonate flowstone inter-bedded between the fossiliferous sediments. For the first time, absolute age ranges can be assigned to the fossil-bearing deposits: Member 2 is between 2.8 +/- 0.28 and 2.6 +/- 0.30 Ma and Member 4 between 2.65 +/- 0.30 and 2.01 +/- 0.05 Ma. The age of 2.01 +/- 0.05 Ma for the top of Member 4 constrains the last appearance of Australopithecus africanus to 2 Ma. In the Silberberg Grotto we have reproduced the U-Pb age of approximately 2.2 Ma of for the flowstones associated with StW573. We believe that these deposits, including the fossil and the flowstones, accumulated rapidly around 2.2 Ma. The stratigraphy of the site is complex as sediments are exposed both in the underground chambers and at surface. W...Continue Reading


Jul 28, 1995·Science·Ron J Clarke, Phillip V Tobias
Jun 3, 2000·Journal of Human Evolution·Kathleen Kuman, Ron J Clarke
Sep 22, 2000·Journal of Anatomy·B Wood, B G Richmond
Apr 26, 2003·Science·T C PartridgeRon J Clarke
Dec 13, 2006·Science·Joanne WalkerAlfred G Latham


Aug 6, 2013·Journal of Human Evolution·Andy I R Herries, Justin W Adams
Sep 10, 2011·Science·Bernhard ZipfelLee R Berger
Jan 5, 2011·PloS One·Jeremy M DeSilva, Zachary J Throckmorton
Nov 11, 2011·PloS One·Brian F KuhnLee R Berger
Apr 5, 2014·Journal of Human Evolution·Laurent BruxellesDominic Stratford
Jan 26, 2016·American Journal of Physical Anthropology·Bernard Wood, Eve K Boyle
Feb 10, 2016·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·J M Kale SnidermanNicholas Porch
Jul 6, 2012·Journal of Human Evolution·Jeremy M DeSilvaBernhard Zipfel
Jan 16, 2016·Journal of Human Evolution·Thomas C Prang
Jul 15, 2015·Journal of Human Evolution·Cinzia FornaiGerhard W Weber
Mar 31, 2015·Journal of Human Evolution·Manuel Will, Jay T Stock
Oct 21, 2015·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·Tracy L Kivell
Apr 14, 2017·The Anatomical Record : Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology·Ella BeenAlon Barash
Sep 23, 2018·Evolutionary Anthropology·Ellison J McNuttJeremy M DeSilva
Nov 25, 2015·Science Advances·Rolf QuamJuan Luis Arsuaga
Nov 25, 2015·Archives of Sexual Behavior·Claire Kimberly, Jason D Hans
Jul 11, 2019·American Journal of Physical Anthropology·Amélie Beaudet
Dec 26, 2018·Journal of Human Evolution·Amélie BeaudetDominic Stratford
Apr 25, 2017·Journal of Human Evolution·Anne Su, Kristian J Carlson
Aug 27, 2019·Journal of Human Evolution·Thierra K NalleyZeresenay Alemseged
Jul 19, 2018·Journal of Human Evolution·Ashley S HammondRoberto Macchiarelli
Apr 3, 2018·Journal of Human Evolution·Travis Rayne PickeringDominic Stratford
Jun 12, 2019·Journal of Human Evolution·Klara Komza, Matthew M Skinner

Related Concepts

Trending Feeds


Coronaviruses encompass a large family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as more serious diseases, such as the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19; formally known as 2019-nCoV). Coronaviruses can spread from animals to humans; symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties; in more severe cases, infection can lead to death. This feed covers recent research on COVID-19.

STING Receptor Agonists

Stimulator of IFN genes (STING) are a group of transmembrane proteins that are involved in the induction of type I interferon that is important in the innate immune response. The stimulation of STING has been an active area of research in the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Here is the latest research on STING receptor agonists.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease characterized by unexplained disabling fatigue; the pathology of which is incompletely understood. Discover the latest research on chronic fatigue syndrome here.

Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy

Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathies are a group of inherited neurodegenerative disorders characterized clinically by loss of sensation and autonomic dysfunction. Here is the latest research on these neuropathies.

Glut1 Deficiency

Glut1 deficiency, an autosomal dominant, genetic metabolic disorder associated with a deficiency of GLUT1, the protein that transports glucose across the blood brain barrier, is characterized by mental and motor developmental delays and infantile seizures. Follow the latest research on Glut1 deficiency with this feed.

Regulation of Vocal-Motor Plasticity

Dopaminergic projections to the basal ganglia and nucleus accumbens shape the learning and plasticity of motivated behaviors across species including the regulation of vocal-motor plasticity and performance in songbirds. Discover the latest research on the regulation of vocal-motor plasticity here.

Neural Activity: Imaging

Imaging of neural activity in vivo has developed rapidly recently with the advancement of fluorescence microscopy, including new applications using miniaturized microscopes (miniscopes). This feed follows the progress in this growing field.

Nodding Syndrome

Nodding Syndrome is a neurological and epileptiform disorder characterized by psychomotor, mental, and growth retardation. Discover the latest research on Nodding Syndrome here.

LRRK2 & Microtubules

Mutations in the LRRK2 gene are risk-factors for developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). LRRK2 mutations in PD have been shown to enhance its association with microtubules. Here is the latest research.