Australopithecus Africanus lived during the late Pliocene and early Pleistocene epochs, about 3.3 to 2.1 million years ago. Thought to be a direct ancestor of modern humans, these early hominids possessed a combination of ape-like and human-like features.
An Australopithecus Africanus skull, named the Taung Child, was discovered in 1924 by Raymond Dart. At the time of its discovery, there was much controversy as to whether the skull belonged to a human ancestor or an early chimpanzee or gorilla. It took more than two decades for the scientific community to accept Australopithecus Africanus as a true member of Homininae. Fossilized remains have since been discovered at three additional sites in southern Africa.