Research directors: J. Braga
TheKromdraai site is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It extends for many hectares in the region of Gauteng, in South Africa. The first paleoanthropological discovery at Kromdraai was fortuitous, occurring in 1938. The signature of a Memorandum of Agreement (in 1995) at the French Embassy in Pretoria, marks the beginning of our mission in Kromdraai B, conducted in collaboration with Professor F Thackaray, director of the Transvaal Museum, with the support of the Cultural Action and Cooperation Service of the French Embassy (Service de Coopération et d’Action Culturelle de l’Ambassade de France) in South Africa.
The excavated deposits, the analysis of remains, correspond to a period situated between 2 and 4 million years. Our research aims toidentify, to date with precision and reliability, the first humans (the genus Homo) in southern Africa, to determine their origincompared to other, older forms of hominids from the neighboring Sterkfontein site. The ancient deposits of Kromdraai B correspond to a period that is scarcely or not at all represented in the other sites of this region of Africa. This period precedes a major dry climatic even observed notably in the ancient levels of another site neighboring Kromdraai, at Swartkrans. New analysis of hominid remains by computer assisted methods, the use of absolute dates, geomorphologic analysis and paleontological deposits, allows us to confirm our hypothesis which is supported more and more, that the Kromdraai B site is the only site in Africa, south of the 15° latitude, allowing usto follow the origin and evolution of the Homo genus from before 2 million years. The correlation of our observations at Kromdraai B with the paleo-environmental and archeological data available for Eastern Africa will be very useful in providing a global framework of the origin of the first humans, their phenotypic adaptations and the associated cultural context.
Braga J, Thackeray JF, Subsol G, Kahn JL, Maret D, Treil J, Beck A. 2010. The enamel-dentine junction in the postcanine dentition of Australopithecus africanus (Sts 52): assessment of intra-individual metameric and antimeric variation. Journal of Anatomy 216, 62-79. (Additional Supporting Information : 6 Figures & 1 Table). DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01154.x.
Balter V, Blichert-Toft J, Braga J, Telouk P, Thackeray F, Albarède F 2008. U-Pb dating of fossil enamel from the Swartkrans Pleistocene hominid site, South Africa. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 267, 236-246. DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.11.039.
Balter V., Telouk P., Reynard B., Braga J., Thackeray F., Albarède F. 2008 Analysis of coupled Sr/Ca and 87Sr/86Sr variations in enamel using laser-ablation tandem quadrupole-multicollector ICPMS. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 72, 3980-3990.
Braga J., Thackeray J.F. 2003. Early Homo at Kromdraai B : probabilistic and morphological analysis of the lower dentition. Comptes Rendus Palevol 2, 269-279. DOI: 10.1016/S1631-0683(03)00044-7.
Braga J. 1998. Chimpanzee variation facilitates the interpretation of the incisive suture in South African Plio-Pleistocene hominids. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 105, 121-135.