In May 1972, the late Mr W F [Bill] Gilroy recovered a large mineralised [limestone] brachiocephalic skull-type from the base gravels of a 3m tall deposit covering a former stone-age campsite, situated upon the former ice-age shoreline of the Fish River at Tarana, west of the Blue Mountains roughly south-east of Bathurst. We shall return to this archaic Homo sapien specimen later.
During April 1973, again at this ancient camp site and some 33.3m west of the first discovery [named Tarana Skull No 1] Rex Gilroy recovered a second smaller limestone endocast. This fossil, displays strata lines and differs from its larger neighbour in that, although lacking a complete braincase and being pushed outwards on its left side due to distortion, displays thick, projecting eyebrow ridges; even though these are internal impressions and there is a receding forehead.
A reconstruction of the fossil shows the braincase to have been doliocephalic, and the front of the endocast includes a mention of the lower jaw area. The skull measures 16cm in length across the incomplete dome by 14cm in width and 9cm in depth.
The mineralisation process as already stated, takes a minimum of around 200,000 years, and with an age of around 100,000 years of overlying sediment the evidence suggests that, anatomically modern humans were already established in the New South Wales central western district by 300,000 years BP, and that groups of modern humans [as Skull No 1 suggests] were sharing this, and no doubt other campsites, with their immediate ancestor Homo erectus who was obviously still well established hereabouts at that time. The height of this hominid is estimated at 1.2m. It was probably a male judging by the thickness of the projecting eyebrow ridges.
Major Update 2008
Back to main skull page