Journal article

Contemporaneity of Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and early Homo erectus in South Africa

Andy IR Herries, Jesse M Martin, AB Leece, Justin W Adams, Giovanni Boschian, Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Tara R Edwards, Tom Mallett, Jason Massey, Ashleigh Murszewski, Simon Neubauer, Robyn Pickering, David S Strait, Brian J Armstrong, Stephanie Baker, Matthew V Caruana, Tim Denham, John Hellstrom, Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi, Simon Mokobane Show all

Science | AMER ASSOC ADVANCEMENT SCIENCE | Published : 2020


Understanding the extinction of Australopithecus and origins of Paranthropus and Homo in South Africa has been hampered by the perceived complex geological context of hominin fossils, poor chronological resolution, and a lack of well-preserved early Homo specimens. We describe, date, and contextualize the discovery of two hominin crania from Drimolen Main Quarry in South Africa. At ~2.04 million to 1.95 million years old, DNH 152 represents the earliest definitive occurrence of Paranthropus robustus, and DNH 134 represents the earliest occurrence of a cranium with clear affinities to Homo erectus These crania also show that Homo, Paranthropus, and Australopithecus were contemporaneous at ~2 ..

View full abstract


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by ARC

Awarded by ARC DECRA

Funding Acknowledgements

The bulk of this research was funded by Australian Research Council Future Fellowship Grant FT120100399 to A.I.R.H. and ARC Discovery Grant DP170100056 to A.I.R.H., J.W.A., D.S.S., and R.J.-B. The U-Pb analysis was funded by ARC DECRA DE120102504 to R.P. The US-ESR dating was supported by ARC DP140100919 to R.J.-B. Work at the site by the Italian Archaeological Mission was supported by a series of grants by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to J.M.-C.; C.M. thanks the National Research Foundation (African Origins Platform) for grants that supported the excavation and research at Drimolen. This work was also supported by a La Trobe University Postgraduate Research Scholarship and La Trobe University Internal Research grant to A.B.L., A.M., B.J.A., T.R.E., T.M., and R.C.S., and a Society of Antiquaries London research grant to J.M.M. Components of the palaeomagnetic work were conducted during a Visiting Research Fellowship to T.M. at the Institute for Rock Magnetism, University of Minnesota, supported through the National Science Foundation, USA.