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Prehistoric Cape Town
Table Mountain Evolution of Plants and Animals Human Evolution Bibliography & Contacts
The Birth of Table Mountain

Table Mountain is not merely the iconic symbol of Cape Town - without it's mountain Cape Town would not exist and the south-western tip of Africa would be a dry, windswept and sparsely populated region


Table Mountain

For a billion years the region around Cape Town was predominantly lush, subtropical rainforest.

Fossils dated at five million years reveal great and fascinating creatures living in the wetlands and forests - double tusked elephants, saber-toothed cats, various species of hyena, ancestral birds and white rhino.

Then the climate became drier, and the animal population changed. Some plants were better suited to a drier climate and began to dominate and diversify, slowly evolving into the unique Cape Floral Kingdom of today.


Fossil at the West Coast Fossil Park

Important evidence of early human evolution has been found in South Africa, particularly near Johannesburg.

But evidence suggests that the first modern humans (home sapiens sapiens) lived in the region around Cape Town. Evidence includes footprints (dated 117,000 years old) and cave settlements.

Hand axes made by Homo Erectus, dated 750,000 years old, have also been found near Cape Town.


Tool used by stone-age man

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