Since 2016

Now released : Kromdraai - A Birthplace of Paranthropus in the Cradle of Humankind. SUN MeDIA. Johannesburg. 

See links below


Surface scanning of some newly discovered Kromdraai hominin fossils at the Evolutionary Studies Institute (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg)

The newly discovered hominin fossils from Kromdraai (as most of the discoveries made in the "Cradle of Humankind" since 1936) are curated at the Evolutionary Studies Institute, in the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg). 

In January/February 2017, José Braga started to surface scan the discoveries with the help of Benjamin Moreno, from IMA Solution (Toulouse, France) (

Benjamin Moreno ( is scaning a fossil hominin mandible.

From left to right: Bernhard Zipfel (Curator of the collection of hominin fossils from the Evolutionary Studies Institute, in the University of the Witwatersrand), José Braga, the famous "Taung Child" (original specimen behind a glass window), Emilie Cazin and Benjamin Moreno.


The first hominin cranial remains discovered in situ since ... 1938

In october 2016, more fieldwork has been conducted at Kromdraai. We concentrated our efforts on the study and the excavations of sedimentary deposits very likely older than 2 millions of years (level or "Member" 2). Seven new fossil hominins were discovered, including cranial and dental remains from two distinct individuals.

Synchrotron studies

In august/september 2016, we used the TOMCAT X-ray source from the synchrotron at the Swiss Light Source (Paul Scherrer Institut), in collaboration with Professor Marco Stampanoni (Paul Scherrer Institut - PSI - and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology de Zürich) and Dr Anne Bonnin (PSI), in order to investigate the dental inner structures at very high spatial resolutions (ranging from 0.6 to 5.2 microns) of three newly discovered juvenile specimens from Kromdraai.

Entrance of the TOMCAT X-ray source at the synchrotron of the Paul Scherrer Institute.

Compared to conventional industrial micro-CT X-rays, synchrotron X-rays are characterized by a much higher flux of photons (nearly 10000 times), with nearly parallel X-ray beams. These beams can be monochromatized (as in our study) to produce a high signal-to-noise ratio in order to allow a very good visualization of small inner structures such as tooth germs (even at very early stages) and dental growth increments. 

One sample from Kromdraai (an isolated tooth from a juvenile and much more complete specimen, KW 9000) placed between the X-ray synchrotron source and the detector at TOMCAT, PSI (august 2016) for further analyses. Try to see the tooth !

Hominin discoveries

Since 2014, 26 early Pleistocene hominin specimens have been discovered in the three oldest fossiliferous deposits of Kromdraai (numbered from 1 to 3; from the oldest to the youngest). We announced these results early this year 2016. 

More infos at :

We are currently preparing the detailed descriptions of this important new fossil hominin sample. These newly discovered juvenile and adult specimens include dental, cranial and post cranial specimens currently under study with the use of X-ray micro-tomography and X-ray synchrotron.