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Science. 1995 Jul 28;269(5223):521-4.

Sterkfontein member 2 foot bones of the oldest South African hominid.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Human Biology, University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Four articulating hominid foot bones have been recovered from Sterkfontein Member 2, near Johannesburg, South Africa. They have human features in the hindfoot and strikingly apelike traits in the forefoot. While the foot is manifestly adapted for bipedalism, its most remarkable characteristic is that the great toe (hallux) is appreciably medially diverged (varus) and strongly mobile, as in apes. Possibly as old as 3.5 million years, the foot provides the first evidence that bipedal hominids were in southern Africa more than 3.0 million years ago. The bones probably belonged to an early member of Australopithecus africanus or another early hominid species.

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