Coopers Cave South Africa

Coopers Cave South Africa

Infobox_protected_area | name = Coopers Cave Fossil Site, Cradle of Humankind

caption = Map of South Africa
locator_x = 195
locator_y = 98
location = Gauteng, South Africa
nearest_city = Krugersdorp, South Africa
lat_degrees = 26
lat_minutes = 00
lat_seconds = 46
lat_direction = S
long_degrees = 27
long_minutes = 44
long_seconds = 45
long_direction = E
area = less than 400 m
established = Incorporated into the Cradle of Humankind 1999
visitation_num =
visitation_year =
governing_body = Cradle of Humankind and Private Landowner

Geographical Location

"Cooper's Cave" is a series of fossil-bearing breccia filled cavities located almost exactly between the well known South African hominid-bearing sites of Sterkfontein and Kromdraai and about 40km Northwest of the City of Johannesburg, South Africa.

History of Investigations

Cooper's has been investigated for fossils since 1938 when Julius Staz found a hominid (ape-man) tooth in the mine dumps at the site while leading a student visit to nearby Sterkfonteincite book|title=|accessdate=|author=Berger et al.|authorlink= |coauthors= |date=1993 |format= |work= |publisher=S. Afr. J. Sci.|pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] . C.K "Bob" Brain worked at the site in 1954 and recovered a large number of fossil animals but reported no hominids. He also named the deposits Cooper's A and B. Surprisingly, more than forty years later, work by researchers and students on this collection of Brain's noted two hominid specimens - an isolated tooth and a crushed facecite book|title=|Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind|accessdate=|author=Hilton-Barber. B and Berger, L.R|authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2003 |format= |work= |publisher=Struik|pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] . In 2001 Lee Berger discovered a new deposit near where Brain had worked and called it Cooper's D. With Duke University students, local technicians and South African students within days of opening these excavations, hominid remains were foundcite book|title=|accessdate=|author=Berger et al.|authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2003 |format= |work= |publisher=S. Afr. J. Sci.|pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] .. Cooper's D is now recognized at the fifth richest hominid site in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site (behind Sterkfontein,

Recovered Fossils

Tens of thousands of fossils have been recovered from Cooper's A and Coopers D with Coopers D now being by far the larger collection. Fossil of hominids have been attributed to both early "Homo" as well as "Paranthropus robustus". Other fauna include many extinct pigs, giant extinct giraffe, monkeys, hyenas, sabre-tooth and false sabre-tooth cats and abundant micro-fauna (mice and rodents


Cooper's D has provided a rich tool assemblage that has beenprovisionally assigned to the Developed Olduwan. Cooper's is arguably the second richest early stone tool site in the Cradle of Humankind area.


Cooper's is a series of breccia-filled dolomitic caves that formed in fissures along geological faults.

age of the deposits

Cooper's D has been absolutely dated to 1.65 to 1.8 million years old . Cooper's A, based on the animals recovered, is thought to be about the same age.

Other Related Links


List of fossil sites

Lee Berger

Cradle of Humankind

Paranthropus robustus


External links

* [|The Coopers Cave Home Page]

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