Gladysvale Cave – A Fossil-bearing Breccia filled Cave in Johannesburg, South Africa
Gladysvale Cave is a fossil-bearing breccia filled cave located in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Gladysvale was occupied by Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus. Fossils of A. africanus have been dated to ~2 million years old and fossils of P. robustus were dated to ~1.8 million years old. Gladysvale is the site of one of the richest A. africanus assemblages in South Africa with an estimated 40% of fossils represented by maxillae.
Most fossil material was excavated between 1948 and 1950 by Pat Weaver when Gladysvale was being examined before urban expansion. Gladysvale was excavated in the mid-1970s by Francis Thackeray, who focused mostly on A. africanus fossils. Gladysvale is named after Gladys Lloyd Leakey, wife of Louis B. Leakey.
Gladysvale has been described as a “classic cave” by Francis Thackeray and Gladysvale is most famous for its fossil assemblage and breccia filled stratigraphy. Gladysvale’s breccia fill preserves both A. africanus and P. robustus fossils together, which reflects the possibility that these two species occupied Gladysvale at roughly the same time in the past.
Gladysvale is one of the most important fossil localities in South Africa and Gladysvale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gladysvale has been called a world-class site by Francis Thackeray because Gladysvale preserves both A. africanus and P. robustus fossils together, which reflects the possibility that these two species occupied Gladysvale at roughly the same time in the past.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gladysvale Cave
What’s the story behind Gladysvale Cave?
Gladysvale Cave is a cave located in the Cederberg mountain range in South Africa. It was named after Gladys Aylward, who, in 1938, unsuccessfully attempted to smuggle 100 orphaned children out of China into Japan.
The cave was first discovered by cavers in 1992. In 2001, a group of cavers found the remains of a human skull and other bones inside the cave. The bones were later identified as belonging to Neandertals, one of the earliest known species of human. The discovery of the Neandertal remains at Gladysvale Cave has been used to support the theory that Neandertals and modern humans may have co-existed in Europe and Asia.
What’s your favourite thing about Gladysvale Cave?
My favorite thing about Gladysvale Cave is the way the light dances on the walls and ceilings. It’s like a natural cathedral, and it’s breathtakingly beautiful.
The cave is also very peaceful and calming, which makes it a great place to relax and unwind. I love spending an hour or two there just sitting in silence and letting all my worries fade away. It’s definitely one of my favorite places on Earth.
Are there any secrets inside Gladysvale Cave that nobody knows about?
There are definitely secrets inside Gladysvale Cave, but most of them have already been discovered by intrepid explorers. For example, there’s a hidden underground river that winds its way through the cave system, and some of the chambers are so large that they can only be explored by boat.
There are also rumors of hidden treasure and lost civilizations inside Gladysvale Cave, but none of these have ever been confirmed. Until now, that is… 😉
Do you think the Gladysvale cave will be open to tourists forever?
The Gladysvale cave will most likely be open to tourists forever. It is a popular tourist destination and brings in a lot of revenue for the local community. In addition, the cave is relatively easy to access and does not require any special permits or equipment to visit.
Do you think more people should visit Gladysvale Cave?
Yes, I think more people should visit Gladysvale Cave! It’s a really special place and it’s so important to help preserve it for future generations.
Image Information: By Profberger – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. Source/author info also in Ticket:2011082010009991., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link