Today, 18 years ago, Second biggest archaeological discovery of the century at Sterkfontein

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Sterkfontein Caves. Photo: maropeng.co.za

One of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century was documented in the South African Journal of Science on 8 December 1998.

Dr Ron Clark of the palaeo-anthropological research institute of the University of the Witwatersrand discovered the petrified skeleton of a 3,5 million year old hominid (ape-man) in the Sterkfontein Caves near Krugersdorp.

The near-complete skeleton, belonging to the Australopithecus species, is 1.22 metre tall.

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Scientists believed the find to be the most significant since the discovery in 1924 of a skull belonging to the so-called Taung child, also in the Sterkfontein caves.

Sterkfontein was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000. The area in which it is situated, was named the Cradle of Humankind.

Source: South African History Online

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