New 2-million-year-old fossil fox found in Sterkfontein

"It's exciting to see a new fossil fox. The ancestry of foxes is perhaps the most poorly known among African carnivores and to see a potential ancestral form of living foxes is wonderful," said Dr Brian Kuhn, of the University of the Witwatersrand's Institute for Human Evolution on Wednesday.

The discovery was announced by South African and international scientists.

In an article published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, the researchers named the previously unknown species of fox "Vulpes Skinneri".

It was named in honour of the recently deceased South African mammalogist and ecologist, Professor John Skinner, from the University of Pretoria.

The fossils, which were found at the Malapa archaeological site, consist of a mandible and parts of the skeleton.

The researchers said the fox could be distinguished from any living or extinct form of fox based on the proportions of its teeth and other aspects of its anatomy.

Exciting discoveries
The skeleton of a new species of human ancestor, named Australopithecus sediba, was discovered at the same site in Malapa in 2008, and was announced to the public in 2010.

Professor Lee Berger, of the university's Institute for Human Evolution, said the Malapa site was extraordinary.

"Malapa continues to reveal this extraordinary record of past life and … the site's contribution to our understanding of the evolution of modern African mammals through wonderful specimens like this fox is of equal import," he said.

"Who knows what we will find next?" – Sapa

Advertisting

Government wary of evacuating South Africans stuck in China

Lack of capacity to deal with the coronavirus and fear of exposing the majority of South Africans to the disease puts repatriation plans on ice

Cradock Four back to haunt De Klerk

Pressure is mounting on the NPA to charge the former president and others involved in political killings during apartheid

Ramaphosa makes peace with Malema over gender-based violence comments

In his Sona response, the president apologised for the weaponising of gender-based violence, saying the attack on the red beret leader was "uncalled for"

Steenhuisen takes the lead in DA race while Ntuli falters

‘If you want a guarantee buy a toaster. This is politics’
Advertising

Press Releases

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.

NWU student receives international award

Carol-Mari Schulz received the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Occupational Hygiene Top Achiever Award.

Academic programme resumes at all campuses

Lectures, practicals, seminars and tutorials will all resume today as per specific academic timetables.

Strategic social investments are a catalyst for social progress

Barloworld Mbewu enables beneficiaries to move away from dependence on grant funding

We all have a part to play to make South Africa work

Powering societal progress demands partnerships between all stakeholders

So you want to be a social entrepreneur?

Do the research first; it will save money and time later

Social entrepreneurship means business

Enterprises with a cause at their core might be exactly what our economy desperately needs

Looking inwards

Businesses are finding tangible ways to give back – but only because consumers demand it