South Africa has some amazing world class fossil and geological sites which have been developed into amazing tourist and educational nodes in their own right. These range from the earliest life on Earth to the Cradle of Humankind, covering an astonishing period of 4 billion years. South Africa is also home to the best preserved Therapsid (mammal like) reptiles and the most primitive, dating back to the Carboniferous, have come out of the sediments of the Karoo basin. Although not nearly as well endowed with dinosaur fossils as the US, South Africa has produced some significant finds which have added to the understanding of dinosaur evolution.
A large number of dinosaur discoveries have taken place in other parts of Africa and we will attempt to cover these finds under the individual dinosaur pages.
Apart from fossils, South Africa has the largest and oldest meteor impact crater on Earth at Vredefort, the richest gold mines, the largest platinum deposits and more coal than you can shake a dinosaur bone at. So enjoy your exploration of some of Earth’s most significant geological and anthropological wonders.
Albany Museum, Grahamstown
The Albany Museum is located in the academic town of Grahamstown and has done some superb work in collecting and studying ancient life of the Eastern Cape, and in particular has been instrumental in the study of two amazing fossil finds in the immediate vicinity of the town. For more information click here.
The Barberton Mountain Lands were once the oldest known rocks on Earth. They have since found slightly older ones in Australia and Canada, but it is here that the evidence of early life is preserved in the sediments. Earth scientists come from all over the world to study these rocks which underlie these ancient hills, rocks which were formed when the Earth was still in its infancy. The first evidence of unicellular life is to be found here, from which the dinosaurs, and us, are descended. A trip to the Barberton geotrail is a trip back into deep time, and into our origins and precarious place in the universe. Food for thought indeed.
For a brilliant Youtube introduction to the Barberton GeoTrail, click here.
For the Barberton Geotrail website, click here.
Permian fossils of which South Africa is richly blessed, are to be found in the Karoo. Near the town of Fraserburg there are fossil tracks of this most ancient of creatures preserved in a riverbed. Bradysaurus was a stout, vegetarian therapsid which lived before the dinosaurs with most of them going extinct at the end-Permian extinction. For more information click here.