Raymond A. Dart (1893-?)

"... the family typified by this form [the Taung child] are the nearest to the prehuman ancestral type that we have." (1925)

Australian paleoanthropologist. After studying at Manchester, Dart took up a position in South Africa and proceeded to find the Taung child skull, which he named as Australopithecus africanus in 1925. Dart's theory that A. africanus was a "missing link" was argued against by leading British paleoanthropologists (including Grafton Elliot Smith, Sir Arthur Keith, and Arthur Smith Woodward), and the material was widely ignored until after World War II, when Robert Broom's newly-found adult specimens showed conclusively that the species was a homind. In 1953 his student Joseph Weiner conducted the flourine analyses that showed the Piltdown finds to be fraudulent.


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