National Heritage Site declaration: 21 May 2004
World Heritage Site decleration: 02 December 1999

Taung Palaeonthropological Fossil site in the North West Province is of outstanding significance nationally and internationally as it is the first site in the world where a member of the species Australopithecus africanus was found, which is among the most important early human fossils ever discovered. The find, called the Taung Child, consists of a fossilised skull and lower jaw of a young individual with some human like characteristics. It also shows the earliest evidence of human upright, two-legged walking.

Unfortunately, no further fossil hominins were found as most of the area was destroyed by lime-mining, illustrating the importance of protecting a site. However, other fossils such as some important fossil baboons were found, which increased the understanding of the Taung geology and taphonomy significantly, and recent studies showed that the approximately three-year-old child may have been killed and eaten by a large bird of prey.

To access the gazette notice, records of issued permits and decisions, and other technical information please visit the site record in the inventory of the national estate, accessible via SAHRIS - follow the link below.