|Dart, Raymond (Arthur) (1893-1988)|
| Australian-born South African
palaeontologist and anthropologist who in 1924 discovered the first fossil
remains of the australopithecenes, early hominids, near Taungs in Botswana.
Dart named them Australopithecus africanus, and spent many years trying to prove that they were early humans rather than apes. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Leakey family found more fossils of this type and of related types in the Olduvai Gorge of E Africa, establishing that Australopithecines were hominids, walked erect, made tools, and lived as early as 5.5 million years ago. After further discoveries in the 1980s, they are today classified as Homo sapiens australopithecus, and Dart's assertions have been validated.
Dart was born in Brisbane and studied at the University of Sydney. He was professor of anatomy at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1922-58.