Malapa Hominin 1—MH1

Dublin Core


Malapa Hominin 1—MH1


Australopithecus sediba


Specimen recovered in Malapa, South Africa. The image depicts a juvenile male holotype for Australopithecus sediba.


Photo: Brett Eloff. Courtesy Prof. Berger and Wits University



Smithsonian Institution

Fossil Item Type Metadata


Matthew Berger, son of paleoanthropologist Lee Berger from the University of Witwatersrand

Type Specimen


Specimen Name/Nickname


Location (Country)

Malapa, South Africa

Site (Name)

Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site in the Malapa Cave system

Discovery Date

August 15, 2008

Specimen/Species Time Range

Between 1.977 and 1.98 million years ago

Dating Method

Paleomagnetism, stratigraphic analysis, and uranium-lead dating

Specimen Data (Morphology)

Consider the implications of this cranium—fragmentation and distortion—that could have slight alterations on the described cranial morphologies. The smallest estimate for cranial capacity of MH1 is 420 cubic centimeters, which is considerably small for genus Homo. The shape of the brain cavity is egg-shaped with the sides and roof of the cranium (parietal walls) in an upright extended form. Behind the eye sockets there is a slight narrowing of the cranium that suggests intermediate chewing muscles. The brow ridge above the eye socket (supraorbital torus) is less pronounced, and there is faint depression between the brow ridge and frontal bone (supratoral sulcus); these morphological traits are more humanlike. The region located between the eyebrow ridge and above the nose (glabellar region) appears to be more primitive than derived. Cheekbones do not protrude or flare (lack of zygomatic flaring) which allows for a square-shaped face when viewed at an angle directed upwards. The pear-shaped nose opening has greater cartilage portions, which makes for a wide flare at the lowest point of the nasal bones, but no nasal bone projection above the shared joints of the frontal bone and jawbone (frontomaxillary suture). Beneath the nose, there is an average sized jaw with slight projection (mesognathic); these primitive character traits are similar in morphology to australopiths. 


Malapa Hominin 1—MH1
Date Added
February 21, 2017
Item Type
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Photo: Brett Eloff. Courtesy Prof. Berger and Wits University, “Malapa Hominin 1—MH1,” Hominid Fossil Repository, accessed August 17, 2022,