Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from A-E

Dart, Raymond Arthur

australopithecus found discovered africanus

(1893–1988) Australian anatomist and palaeoanthropologist: discovered Australopithecus africanus .

After qualifying as a physician from the University of Sydney in 1917, Dart served in France before being appointed professor of anatomy at the newly formed University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1922. The work there he found to be a most depressing experience, until in 1924 one of his students showed him a fossil baboon skull that had been found in a lime quarry at Taung, Botswana. Dart arranged with the quarry managers for any other similar items to be preserved and sent to him, and soon afterwards the skull of a hitherto unknown hominid, named by Dart Australopithecus africanus (‘southern ape of Africa’), was discovered. Dart’s claim that Australopithecus was the ‘missing link’ between man and the apes was rejected by authorities of the day, however, until found further hominid remains in the Transvaal in 1936. It is now thought that Australopithecus lived about 1.2–2.5 million years ago but it is still a matter of debate whether modern man is directly descended from him or if he only represents an unsuccessful evolutionary branch from a much earlier common ancestor.

Darwin, Charles (Robert) [next] [back] Darraj, Faisal (1942–) - BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, ABUSE OF DIGNITY, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or