Australopithecus africanus (STS 5 - "Mrs. Ples") Cast Replica Skull #B | Darwin and Wallace: A Nature & Fossil Store
Australopithecus africanus (STS 5 - "Mrs. Ples") Cast Replica Skull #BH-007

Australopithecus africanus (STS 5 - "Mrs. Ples") Cast Replica Skull #BH-007

Size: 6¾"L x 4¾"W x 5¼"H

-Species: Australopithecus africanus

-Notes: Considered to have lived 2.5 million years ago, the Australopithecus africanus Skull (STS 5) known as "Mrs. Ples" was discovered in 1947 by Robert Broom and John Robinson in Sterkfontein, Transvaal, South Africa. STS 5 was nicknamed 'Mrs. Ples' by Broom after initially hypothesizing that she was a middle-aged female Plesianthropus transvaalensis, which was the original name of this species, thus, ’Mrs. Ples.’ Originally thought by Broom to be a female, STS 5 is now considered by most to be a male. The discovery of this nearly complete cranium of a mature specimen led to a much more positive reception of South African australopithecines as hominids. Twenty years earlier Raymond Dart labeled a skull found at Taung "Australopithecus africanus." The dentition of that skull indicates that it was a juvenile, which led to much criticism and broad dismissal of Dart's contention that the skull was a hominid; instead, critics considered it an ape (at the time, apes were not placed within Hominidae). Like other early hominids, STS 5 had an ape-sized brain with a cranial capacity about 485 cc. Compared to Australopithecus afarensis, it has a more rounded skull, a less projecting face, absence of cranial crests, and smaller front teeth. However, the front teeth are larger than in robust australopithecines such as P. boisei. The cheek teeth are larger than in Australopithecus afarensis but smaller than in the robust australopithecines.

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