BCN banner

Fully Intact Hominid Skull Discovered --
2 Million Years Old

April 27, 2000 The remains of the most complete hominid skull ever uncovered has been discovered in a prehistoric cave filled with bones dumped by flash floods over a million years ago. The 1.5-2.0 million year old skull of a female Paranthropus robustus is considered "one of the most extraordinary finds that any paleoanthropologist has ever seen," said Dr. Lee Berger, Director of the Paleoanthropology unit of University of Wit in Johannesburg.

Dr. Berger said that the female skull represents certainly the most complete skull of a robust Australopithecine ever found in Africa, and may in fact represent the most complete skull of an early hominid ever found, "There has never been a better discovery in this little-known branch of the human family tree. For the first time, we can directly compare unequivocally associated male and female robust Australopithecines. For the first time, we can see the complete morphology [scientific form] of a female robust Australopithecine; their form and shape has always been in question until now."

Sorry, your browser doesn't support Java(tm), or you don't have java enabled on your Browser. Only 4.0+ browsers enjoy java applet displays.
The fully intact skull of a female Paranthropus robustus
that lived nearly 2 million years ago

Dr. Andre Keyers, the paleontologist in charge of the site's excavation said the skull represents, "a creature that was in direct competition with our earliest ancestors. The Parathropus robustus, a hominid that lived nearly 1.5-2.0 million years ago (see Evolution Map) was primarily a vegetarian that may have scavenged for small amounts of meat, and may also have used rudimentary bone tools. Dr. Keyers said the hominid became extinct about 1 million years ago, probably due to the domination of early man.

Photo of Dr Andre Keyers
Dr. Andre Keyers at the location of the site

The Drimolen site, where the skull was discovered, is now officially the second richest Australopithecus robustus site in the world after Swartkrans, having yielded around 74 specimens in the past eight years.

The skull, nicknamed "Eurydice" will provide paleontologists research opportunities they never had with the disparate fragments previously discovered. Until this discovery, researchers were not even sure what a female Paranthropus robustsus looked like. As a result of this find, they have a pretty good idea that Paranthropus robusts was no Greta Garbo.


University of Wit - Press Release

Related Stories

African Roots -- 2000

The Most Complete Hominid Skull - Scientific American

University of Wit - Hominid Discovery

History of Hominid Discovery - Dr. Andre Keyers' Biography