Geological setting and age of Australopithecus sediba from southern Africa.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We describe the geological, geochronological, geomorphological, and faunal context of the Malapa site and the fossils of Australopithecus sediba. The hominins occur with a macrofauna assemblage that existed in Africa between 2.36 and 1.50 million years ago (Ma). The fossils are encased in water-laid, clastic sediments that were deposited along the lower parts of what is now a deeply eroded cave system, immediately above a flowstone layer with a U-Pb date of 2.026 +/- 0.021 Ma. The flowstone has a reversed paleomagnetic signature and the overlying hominin-bearing sediments are of normal polarity, indicating deposition during the 1.95- to 1.78-Ma Olduvai Subchron. The two hominin specimens were buried together in a single debris flow that lithified soon after deposition in a phreatic environment inaccessible to scavengers.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dirks, PHGM; Kibii, JM; Kuhn, BF; Steininger, C; Churchill, SE; Kramers, JD; Pickering, R; Farber, DL; Mériaux, A-S; Herries, AIR; King, GCP; Berger, LR

Published Date

  • April 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 328 / 5975

Start / End Page

  • 205 - 208

PubMed ID

  • 20378812

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1184950


  • eng