Within the Sterkfontein Caves, scientists have discovered literally thousands of hominid and other animal fossils, dating back more than 4-million years, to the birth of humanity. The most important and most famous of these fossils are Mrs Ples, a 2.5-million-year-old australopithecine skull, and 'Little Foot', an almost complete australopithecine skeleton that is around 4.17-million years old. These fossils, both found in the Sterkfontein Caves in the Cradle of Humankind, tell us much about how and in what circumstances modern humans, homo sapiens, evolved.
The Sterkfontein Caves are owned by the University of the Witwatersrand whose scientists have been responsible for the main excavations of the World Heritage Site. Sterkfontein has been excavated for more than 62 years in total, but it is amazingly still yielding up its secrets. The discovery just recently of the almost complete skeleton of 'Little Foot' bears ample testament to the wealth of information which is still to be gained from the cave deposits at Sterkfontein.