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Updated on
04 December 2018
Human being ? An archeology of the origins

International conference, Friday 9 and Saturday 10 November 2018, at the Muséum de Toulouse.

International conference "Human being ? An archeology of the origins" by Ron Clarke, , University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Each Sterkfontein and Makapansgat cave site includes fossils representing two contemporary species of Australopithecus – A. africanus and A. prometheus. An almost complete skeleton from a level lower than Sterkfontein belongs to A. prometheus. The younger levels in Sterkfontein contain numerous artefacts from the Oldowan and Acheulean stone tool industries.

A mandible directly associated with an Acheulean cleaver belongs to Homo ergaster, and an infantile maxillary fragment at the Oldowan level belongs to Homo habilis. A skull (StW 53) widely published under the title Homo habilis is actually a male Australopithecus africanus, almost identical to the first adult Australopithecus discovered by Robert Broom in 1936.

Ronald Clarke works at the Institute of Evolution Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, in South Africa. From 1963 to 1969, he worked as assistant to Louis Leakey in Kenya and helped Mary Leakey dig the footprints of bipedal hominids dated to approximately 3.5 million years uncovered in Laetoli, Tanzania. Director of the excavations at the Sterkfontein Caves, he is responsible for the discovery of ‘Little Foot’, the most complete skeleton of an Australopithecus ever discovered, dating back about 3.67 million years.


  • Clarke, R.J. (2017). Homo habilis: the inside story. In M. Sahnouni, S. Semaw, J.R. Garaizar (eds), Proceedings of the II Meeting of African Prehistory. Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Burgos (Spain), pp. 25-51.
  • Clarke, R.J. (2013). Australopithecus from Sterkfontein Caves, South Africa. Paleobiology of Australopithecus. In K. Reed, J. Fleagle, and R. Leakey (eds): The Paleobiology of Australopithecus. New York: Springer, pp. 105-123.
  • Clarke, R.J. (2008). A new look at Australopithecus and latest information on Sterkfontein’s Australopithecus skeleton. South African Journal of Science 104: 443-449.
  • 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.
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