Adventures with the missing link
In this extract from his book, 'Adventures with the Missing Link', RAYMOND DART tells how experts corroborated his original opinion that Australopithecus was about one million years old.
"From the moment Australopithecus was introduced to the world, laymen and scientists have naturally wanted to know about the age of the creature, while the immediate question usually asked by those making their first acquaintance with anthropology is how it is possible for bones to be preserved for a million years or more."
"When the Taung skull was described as that of an advanced ape resembling man in various features, Professor RB Young, my geologist colleague made a detailed study of the locality and the valley alongside and stated that the Buxton limestone deposit at Taung was probably Pleistocene. This too was the conclusion of then late Dr WD Matthew, the American Museum of Natural History's leading paleontologist, who wrote that on the fossil evidence he would regard the deposit as Lower Pleistocene."
"These experts corroborated my own original opinion, backed by Broom, that Australopithecus was about one million years old. This was more than twice the age of Dubois' Java Man, the most significant find in Asia, which after being locked away for more than thirty years was again in the limelight when my discovery was announced."
- Dart, Raymond A. Adventures with the Missing Link, (Hamish Hamilton: London, 1959)