We are talking about a complex of six Sterkfontein caves, they are located in the northeast of South Africa in the province of Gauteng.
Now a new dating method developed inPurdue University (Indiana), made it possible to clarify the age of some of the finds and come to the conclusion that they were older than previously thought. For a whole million years.
According to the results obtained on the basis ofanalysis of the radioactive decay of rare isotopes of aluminum-26 and beryllium-10 in the mineral quartz, the age of the remains is almost 4 million years. Under such conditions, they are older than the famous Australopithecus, nicknamed Lucy, who lived about 3.2 million years ago.
The team determined that all depositsAustralopithecus date back to 3.4 to 3.7 million years ago. This means that all the remains recovered from the deposit belong to approximately the beginning of the Australopithecus era, and not to its end, as previously thought.
The revised age makes the South African hominins contemporaneous with the Afar and some other Middle Pliocene australopithecines.
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