Australopithecus africanus Mrs. Ples STS 5 Skull measures 7.5 inches or 19cm. The fossil has been dated to around 2.05 million years Accurate Reproduction based on Casts and Pictures of the original Fossil The acid digested away parts of the skull bone around the tooth sockets. BH-007 $208.00. The main difference between STS 5 and the Taung Child is that this fossil's face is strongly prognathic, an ape-like feature that becomes more pronounced as A. africanus individuals grow up. He pointed out that there were prominent ridges on Mrs Ples’s snout, and argued that these were probably associated with the large roots of the canine teeth. Dynamite broke her slightly. In the final analysis, whether Ples is a Mr or a Mrs doesn’t detract from the significance of what the skull tells us about our human ancestry. Ples' by scientist Robert Broom after initially hypothesizing that she was a middle-aged female Plesianthropus transvaalensis , which was the original name of this species ---thus, ’Mrs. This fossil showed that maturity wouldn’t make A. africanus less human. Soon after he and Robinson made their landmark discovery, Broom confidently claimed that Mrs Ples was female based on the size of her canine sockets. One of the most famous fossil skulls, “Mrs Ples”, is actually a “Mr”! Why dynamite is not necessarily the best way to excavate human remains.... do you see the wedge-shaped portion of the forehead reconstructed here in a light color? Her nickname is grounded in history. Here are a couple of fun facts about the fossil, which dates back to about 2.5 million years ago, and had a brain size of about 485 cc. In the decades since then the skull’s sex has become the subject of some debate. (Ditsong National Museum of Natural History) This view was supported by subsequent research, which one of us – Francis Thackeray – was involved in. Visitors can learn from site reports contributed by researchers, view images of fossil skeletal anatomy, and complete lessons and activities about human origins and evolution. This fossil showed that maturity wouldn’t make A. africanus less human. Affectionately known as Mrs. Ples, this fossil was found by Robert Broom in the limestone caves at Sterkfontein, South Africa in 1936. The skull became known as Mrs Ples, derived from Plesianthropus, meaning almost human. Fossil skull of Australopithecus africanus, an extinct hominid species which may be an ancestor of modern humans. Rather, Mrs Ples was the oldest individual when she died ~2 million years ago 3 . These findings, which form part of an ongoing debate about the iconic skull’s sex, are further proof that science is a work in progress. Mrs. Ples helped to shift that perspective and was one of the first fossils to be widely recognized as a human ancestor. This allowed the age of the deposit containing Mrs Ples to be estimated to between roughly 2.16 to 2.05 Ma, around the time of the Reunion and Huckleberry Ridge geomagnetic field events. If you follow that crack around to the rear of the skull, you’ll see why scientists are much more careful today when excavating, or digging for human remains. Mrs. Ples is the popular nickname for the most complete skull of an Australopithecus africanus specimen ever found in South Africa. Except this isn’t the oldest in terms of geological age. Of course, science being what it is, the debate is probably not over. The discovery of this nearly complete cranium of a mature specimen led to a much more positive reception of South … We discovered this by making a careful study of her tooth sockets. As complete as she is, Mrs. Ples was actually broken into two … “Mrs” Ples was actually a “Mr”. eFossils.org is dedicated to sharing information about early fossil hominins and their evolutionary context. chimpanzees. Paleoanthropologists agree that Mrs. Ples is … 2006. Ples” is believed by many to represent a species (Australopithecus africanus) from which all humankind evolved. “Mrs Ples” was discovered in April 1947 by Robert Broom and John Robinson at the Sterkfontein Caves, near Pretoria. Measurements of the canine socket were published in 1950 at a time when the fossils found at Sterkfontein were cleaned mechanically. But our study revealed that the sockets weren’t naturally that small: they’d become smaller because of acid used during work done on the skull about 60 years ago. Mrs. Ples’ skull was actually blown into two pieces during its extraction from the breccia (a cement-like rock) because Broom used dynamite to expose the remains over backbreaking work with a pickaxe. 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