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Malapa is a fossil-bearing cave located about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) northeast of the well known South African hominid-bearing sites of Sterkfontein and Swartkrans and about 45 kilometres (28 mi) north-northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa.
It is situated within the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
The site has produced arguably one of the most complete assemblages of early human ancestors ever found, including the most complete skeletons of early hominids yet discovered, and by far the most complete remains of any hominid dating to around 2 million years ago.
The partial skeletons are initially described in two papers in the journal Science by Berger and colleagues as a new species of early human ancestor called Australopithecus sediba (sediba meaning natural spring or well in Sotho).
On 1 August he dropped off Dirks to map the recognized cave system and proceeded into the uninvestigated area with his dog Tau, a Rhodesian Ridgeback who accompanied him on almost all his explorations.
On 15 August, Berger returned to the site with his post-doctoral student, Dr. Within minutes, Matthew Berger had discovered the first remains of early human ancestors - a clavicle, or collar bone.
The area is important as nearly a third of the entire evidence for human origins in Africa comes from just a few sites in this region, and the region is arguably one of the most explored areas in Africa for evidence of human origins, having been investigated continuously since the first discoveries were made there in 1935.The skeletons were found among the articulated skeletons of a sabre-toothed cat, antelopes and even mice and hares.The fossils are preserved in a hard, concrete-like substance known as calcified clastic sediments that formed at the bottom of what appears to be a shallow underground lake or pool that was possibly as much as 50 metres (160 ft) underground at the time.What’s more, the way in which news outlets around the world, included, represented the issue is perhaps more telling of the way older women are perceived by society.First off, the very word ‘cougar’ is most certainly moot.