Preliminary report on the first excavations at the new fossil site of Motsetse, Gauteng, South Africa

L. R. Berger, R. Lacruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


THE FOSSIL POTENTIAL OF MOTSETSE WAS first noted in 1999. This fossil-bearing breccia deposit is located about 16 km northeast of the Sterkfontein caves in the dolomites of the Eccles Formation. The site has been provisionally divided into Upper, Lower, and Middle deposits. Two short field seasons of excavation have been conducted at the site, focusing on the decalcified areas which have yielded more than 2000 macro-mammal specimens, most of which derived from the Lower deposit. No hominin or other primate remains have yet been recovered. Bovids and carnivores are abundant and equids are represented. Isolated teeth of an extinct felid have been attributed to Dinofelis cf. piveteaui. Preliminary descriptions of the fossil material excavated so far are presented here. Based on the presence of the Dinofelis species and its chronological correlation with East African records, 11,16 a provisional palaeontological age of the excavated material is estimated between c. 1.64 and 1.0 Myr. At this stage, no palaeoenvironmental or taphonomic interpretations of the faunal assemblage are suggested pending increased sample sizes and greater stratigraphic resolution of the site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-282
Number of pages4
JournalSouth African Journal of Science
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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