New research from an international team of scientists led by University of Cape Town isotope geochemist Dr Robyn Pickering is the first to provide a timeline for fossils from the caves within the Cradle of Humankind. It also sheds light on the climate conditions of our earliest ancestors in the area.
Published online in the journal Nature on 21 November 2018, the work corrects assumptions that the region’s fossil-rich caves could never be related to each other. In fact, the research suggests fossils from Cradle caves date to just six specific time periods.
“Unlike previous dating work, which often focused on one cave, sometimes even just one chamber of the cave, we are providing direct ages for eight caves and a model to explain the age of all the fossils from the entire region,” says Dr Robyn Pickering.