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Australopithecus africanus: Sts 5

  • Common Name:

    Mrs. Ples

  • Geologic Age:

    2.5 Ma

  • Discovery Date:

    18 Apr 1947

  • Discovered By:

    Robert Broom and John T. Robinson

  • Discovery Location:

    Sterkfontein, South Africa

  • Specimen Age:

    Adult, middle aged

  • Sex:


    As one of the most well preserved specimens, Sts 5 offers insight into the morphology of Australopithecus africanus. Unlike Australopithecus afarensis which have an endocranial capacity comparable to apes (approximately 461 cc), Sts 5 has a much larger relative brain size at about 485 cc. Sts 5 also exhibits a relatively less prognatic face with a shortened (in height) jaw. The foramen magnum, which can indicate bipedalism, is positioned more forward, more like modern humans than in African apes. The cranium from Sts 5 is often combined with the mandible of Sts 52 in order to recreate a composite reconstruction of a complete A. africanus skull.

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