London: Watts & Co., 1951. drawings. Second Revised & Expanded Edition. Cloth. Small 8vo, red cloth with gold lettering on spine, illustrated with a frontispiece B&W photograph of the Sterkfontein female skull and 12 B&W line drawings, Mylar-protected gray dust jacket (unclipped) with red lettering, 111 pages. Very Fine / Very Fine. Item #2040
A brilliant copy of this significant early paleontological-and-physical anthropological title.
Robert Broom FRS, FRSE (1866–1951) was a Scottish South African doctor and paleontologist. Following the discovery of the Taung child, he became interested in the search for human ancestors and commenced work on much more recent fossils from the dolomite caves north-west of Johannesburg, particularly Sterkfontein Cave. ...From these caves, he identified several hominin fossils, the most complete of which was an Australopithecine skull, nicknamed "Mrs Ples," and a partial skeleton that indicated that Australopithecines walked upright.
Dart's claim that Australopithecus africanus, the species name that he had given to the Taung Child, was a transitional form between apes and humans was almost universally rejected. Robert Broom, a Scottish doctor who worked in South Africa, was one of the few scientists to believe Dart. Two weeks after Dart announced the discovery of the Taung Child in Nature, Broom visited Dart in Johannesburg to see the fossil. After he became a paleontologist in 1933, Broom found adult fossils of Australopithecus africanus and discovered more robust fossils, which were eventually renamed Australopithecus robustus (AKA Paranthropus Robustus). Even after Dart chose to take a break from his work in anthropology, Broom undertook more excavations, and slowly began to find more Australopithecus africanus specimens that proved Dart was correct in his analysis of the Taung Child; it did have human-like morphology. In 1946, Broom and his colleague Gerrit Schepers published a volume consolidating all the information they had found about Australopithecus africanus in a volume titled The South African Fossil Men: The Australopithecinae..