Sea cows are more African than lions

Julien Benoit, University of the Witwatersrand When you think about typical African wildlife, a few animals almost certainly spring to mind: zebras, wildebeest, lions, cheetahs and buffaloes. But fossil records tell us that these species aren’t originally from Africa. In fact, their ancestors originated in Asia when Africa was separated from the rest of the …

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Homo naledi may be two million years old (give or take)

Francis Thackeray, University of the Witwatersrand There has been global interest in the announcement of new fossils from a cave called Rising Star in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa. These fossils were recently reported by Lee Berger and his team, who described the discovery of more than 1500 fossils as …

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Species without boundaries: a new way to map our origins

Francis Thackeray, University of the Witwatersrand More than 145 years ago, Charles Darwin argued that Africa was the continent from which humans evolved in prehistory. We now know he was right. We have the evidence to prove from prehistoric remains that our distant human relatives go back at least seven million years. Certainly, the fossil …

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