The Cradle Humankind – Maropeng, South Africa


P1010682The Cradle of Humankind is the richest homo genus excavation site in the world. It is close to Johannesburg, South Africa. The Homo genus is the genus we evolved from. We are from the Homo Sapien species. The first humans were half humans, half apes called Australopithecus. Slowly, but surely, those evolved into the first part of the species of the Homo genus.


Grandpa Harry

Grandpa Harry

Now the thing that marked the difference between an ape and a human back then was a big brain, prominent nose and a comparatively small jaw and teeth. The first humans were quite short and covered with fur. Considering they evolved in Africa, they had to do something to escape predators. They were too dumb to build a shelter, too dumb to think to live in a cave, and too dumb to build a fire to scare away the other animals. All they could do was climb trees. When they were on the ground, though, they were shorter than the grass, meaning they couldn’t see the lion 20 feet away. So they were wiped out. Luckily, though, other branches of humankind had evolved to be taller so humankind survived to live another 800,000 years. Slowly but surely, humankind evolved to be more like modern humans.

IMG_8194The first branch of Homo genus that could use rocks to grind and smash food were called the “Handy Man” species. Now humankind was starting to be smarter than the average monkey. Typically, when a species evolves, it is always much smarter than the last species of the genus. So slowly, after the “Handy Man” evolved to be even smarter than before, a similar species to present humankind called Neanderthals emerged. These people harnessed the power of fire, lived in caves and lived like you would think cavemen do. They made spearheads to hunt and drew art with coal.

IMG_8201Eventually, the Neanderthal population dwindled and the Homo Sapiens evolved to take the reigns of history. Modern humans evolved and traveled to other countries. Neanderthals became extinct in Europe and humans as we now know them spread to all corners of the globe. The rest is … history.



We are all one species, derived from the same ancestry.

We are all one species, derived from the same ancestry.

Learning about humankind evolving has been really fantastic. I hope some of you spare the time to learn more about our scientific history.



2 thoughts on “The Cradle Humankind – Maropeng, South Africa

  1. Kris

    This museum was surely one of the highlights of our trip. I could have spent a lot more time there. To learn how short a time homo sapiens have been on earth in relation to the earlier forms of man and earlier forms of life before that is quite fascinating.
    I am rereading Carl Sagan again. Other authors in that vein are Stephen Hawking, and Richard Dawkins, and Richard Dawkins (for Lo if he’s interested)

    Well written article. I will never forget this place.

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