Gallery: South Africa’s new ape-man species

Images courtesy of the University of the Witwatersrand and the Institute for Human Evolution

An entirely new species of hominid, or ape-man, has been discovered in South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind world heritage site near Johannesburg. Represented by the partial fossilised skeletons of a young male and an adult female, the species has been named Australopithecus sediba. It lived almost two million years ago and, while it had long ape-like arms, was capable of striding and possibly running like a modern human.

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The species was described and named by a team led by Professor Lee Berger, a palaeoanthropologist from the University of the Witwatersrand. Two papers related to the find, authored by Berger and Professor Paul Dirks of James Cooke University, were published in the journal Science on 9 April 2010.

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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

The skull of the juvenile skeleton of
Australopithecius sediba.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

Lee Berger with the juvenile skull.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

Berger and Dr Job Kibii at Malapa, the fossil
excavation site in the Cradle of Humankind.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

Berger leads the team onto the Malapa site.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

Berger’s son Mathew with the juvenile fossil.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

Paul Dirks examines the ground at the
Malapa site.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

Berger with some of the partial remains of
Australopithecus sediba.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

The skull of the juvenile skeleton of
Australopithecius sediba.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

Berger and his dog Tau enter a cave at
the site.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

The Cradle of Humankind World
Heritage Site.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

Australopithecus sediba.
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New hominid species discovered in South Africa

Human evolutionary tree by Peter Schmid
of the University of Zurich.
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