However, long before then, Dart recognized the importance of this find.

Over the last decade, there have been a number of important fossil discoveries in Africa of what may be very early transitional ape/hominins, or proto-hominins.

These creatures lived just after the divergence from our common hominid ancestor with chimpanzees and bonobos, during the late Miocene and early Pliocene Epochs.

The other line seems to have lived more in mixed grassland and woodland environments, like the earlier australopithecines, and was primarily vegetarian.

This second, more conservative line of early hominins died out by 1 million years ago or shortly before then.

The primate fossil record for this crucial transitional period leading to australopithecines is still scanty and somewhat confusing.

However, by about 4.2 million years ago, unquestionable australopithecines were present.One line apparently was adapted primarily to the food resources in lake margin grassland environments and had an omnivorous diet that increasingly included meat.Among them were our early human ancestors who started to make stone tools by this time.In both of these traits, the Taung child was much more like a human than an ape.Most paleoanthropologists in the 1920's rejected Dart's claims that Australopithecus africanus was intermediate between apes and humans in favor of the view that it was just an ape.The classification of Sahelanthropus has been the most in question.