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Hoedjiespunt

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Hoedjiespunt (33 01' 43"S, 17 57' 34"E) is a Middle Pleistocene aged hominid fossil-bearing locality on the West Coast of South Africa, near the town of Saldanha Bay. The site is located on a peninsula overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and is near the fossil localities of Sea Harvest, Saldanha and Langebaan lagoon.

History of Investigations

Prior to the early 1990's Hoedjiespunt had been known for several years as a fossil locality after roadworks had exposed abundant bone when a grader dug into a fossilized sand dune. Graham Avery of the South African Museum recovered a number of fossils at this time[1]. In 1993, Lee Berger found a single fossil hominid tooth in fragments eroding from the surface of the deposit and following this discovery, John Parkington of the University of Cape Town and Berger undertook a series of seasonal excavations that recovered many thousands of fossils including more hominid remains[1].

Recovered fossils

Of the many thousands of fossils recovered from Hoedjiespunt most are of animals. However, the hominid remains include numerous teeth, skull fragments and a tibia shaft all from a juvenile hominid attributed to Homo heidelbergensis[2].. Other fossils include seals, antelope and carnivores.

Geology

Hoedjiespunt is an ancient Brown Hyena and jackal lair that had been dug into the side of a sand dune. It is likely that at the time of formation the site was many kilometers from the ocean. The site became fossilized under a large calcrete layer.

age of the deposits

Absolute dates of the site suggest an age of around 280,000 years before present [2].

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Berger et al. (1995). A new Pleistocene hominid bearing locality at Hoedjiespunt, South Africa.. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop, 601-609. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Churchill et al. (1995). A Homo cf. heidelbergensis tibia from the Hoedjiespunt site, Western Cape, South Africa. S. Afr. J. Sci., 367-368.