Raymond Dart

Dart

Raymond Dart discovered the first African fossils of early hominins, in the caves of the Transvval, and used the extensive assemblages of animal bones found with them to argue that these australopithecines had become ‘killer apes’, and paving the way to humans.

Raymond Dart is best known for having discovered the first fossil hominin in Africa – the Taung child, in 1924. Not content with contributing such key facts to human evolution – and so setting in train the African origin model – he also proposed general theories to explain why humans had evolved. His particular theory was built on his observations of the bones of prey animals found with the australopithecines, and that humans had become predatory, giving rise to a successful hunting ape. Although his theory, and its empirical base, have been discredited, the role of hunting in human evolution is still strongly supported.

The Taung fossil hominin - the first to be discovered in Africa

The Taung fossil hominin – the first to be discovered in Africa