Twenty years after paleoanthropologist Ron Clarke began excavating the 3.67-million-year-old Little Foot fossil skeleton, it has finally been unveiled to the public. It goes on display today at the Hominin Vault in the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand. Little Foot is remarkable because it is virtually complete: most fossil finds are just fragments of skeletons, but it is missing only parts of its feet, pelvis and kneecaps. This makes it the most complete skeleton of a human ancestor older than 1.5-million years. Clarke discovered fragments of Little Foot in 1994, when he was sorting through a box of animal fossils from the Silberberg Grotto in Sterkfontein that had been removed more than a decade earlier. He spotted four articulating foot bones that he recognised as belonging to an early human ancestor, then sent his assistants Stephen Motsumi and Nkwane Molefe into the Sterkfontein cave with a piece of broken shin bone to find a match. Two days ...

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