First fossil Agama lizard discovered in the Cradle of Humankind (Bolt’s Farm Cave System, South Africa)
- Authors: Vilakazi, Nonhlanhla , Gommery, Dominique , Kgasi, Lazarus
- Date: 2020
- Subjects: Plio-Pleistocene , Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site , Agamidae
- Language: English
- Type: Article
- Identifier: http://hdl.handle.net/10210/476374 , uj:43007 , Citation: VILAKAZI, N., GOMMERY, D. and KGASI, L., 2020. First fossil Agama lizard discovered in the Cradle of Humankind (Bolt’s Farm Cave System, South Africa). Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History 9: 000–000.
- Description: Abstract: Plio-Pleistocene sites in the Cradle of HumankindWorld Heritage Site (recognized by UNESCO), including Taung and Makapansgat Limeworks, all in South Africa, have not only yielded a rich collection of macrofauna but also an abundance of microfauna. Even though the extant small lizards are highly diverse with 23 families and 350 species in southern Africa, very few fossil remains have been studied. This is probably due in part to difficulties in accessing comparative osteological collections (the comparative material is usually rarely completely prepared, rendering anatomical study almost impossible). In 2016 an incomplete mandible with acrodont dentition was excavated in Brad Pit A (Bolt’s FarmKarst System) by the Hominid Origins and Past Environment Research Unit team.Upon inspection, the fossil resembled agamids, even though it lacked the anterior pleurodont dentition present in Agamids. The fossil specimen can only be identified as Agama sp.due to its fragmentary state, but it represents the first fossil of this genus to be reported from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
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The first hominin from the early pleistocene paleocave of haasgat , South Africa
- Authors: Leece, A. B. , Kegley, Anthony D. T. , Lacruz, Rodrigo S. , Herries, Andy I. R. , Hemingway, Jason , Kgasi, Lazarus , Potze, Stephany , Adams, Justin W.
- Date: 2016
- Subjects: Paranthropus , Australopithecus , Homo
- Language: English
- Type: Article
- Identifier: http://hdl.handle.net/10210/225429 , uj:22767 , Citation: Leece, A.B. et al. 2016. The first hominin from the early pleistocene paleocave of haasgat, South Africa. PeerJ, 4:1-18. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2024.
- Description: Abstract: Haasgat is a primate-rich fossil locality in the northeastern part of the Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we report the first hominin identified from Haasgat, a partial maxillary molar (HGT 500), that was recovered from an ex situ calcified sediment block sampled from the locality. The in situ fossil bearing deposits of the Haasgat paleokarstic deposits are estimated to date to slightly older than 1.95 Ma based on magnetobiostratigraphy. This places the hominin specimen at a critical time period in South Africa that marks the last occurrence of Australopithecus around 1.98 Ma and the first evidence of Paranthropus and Homo in the region between â‡ 2.0 and 1.8 Ma. A comprehensive morphological eval! uation of the Haasgat hominin molar was conducted against the current South African catalogue of hominin dental remains and imaging analyses using micro-CT, electron and confocal microscopy. The preserved occlusal morphology is most similar to Australopithecus africanus or early Homo specimens but different from Paranthropus. Occlusal linear enamel thickness measured from micro-CT scans provides an average of â‡ 2.0 mm consistent with Australopithecus and early Homo. Analysis of the enamel microstructure suggests an estimated periodicity of 7â€“9 days. Hunterâ€“Schreger bands appear long and straight as in some Paranthropus, but contrast with this genus in the short shape of the striae of Retzius. Taken together, these data suggests that the maxillary fragment recovered from Haasgat best fits within the Australopithecusâ€”early Homo hypodigms to the exclusion of the genus Paranthropus. At â‡ 1.95 Ma this specimen would either represent another example of late occurring Australopith! ecus or one of the earliest examples of Homo in the region. While the identification of this first hominin specimen from Haasgat is not unexpected given the composition of other South African penecontemporaneous site deposits, it represents one of the few hominin localities in the topographically- distinct northern World Heritage Site. When coupled with the substantial differences in the mammalian faunal communities between the northern localities (e.g., Haasgat, Gondolin) and well-sampled Bloubank Valley sites (e.g., Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai), the recovery of the HGT 500 specimen highlights the potential for further research at the Haasgat locality for understanding the distribution and interactions of hominin populations across the landscape, ecosystems and fossil mammalian communities of early Pleistocene South Africa. Such contextual data from sites like Haasgat is critical for understanding the transition in hominin representation at â‡ 2 Ma sites in the region from Australopithecus to Paranthropus and early Homo.
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