Researchers at a South African University have discovered a complete skeleton of a human who lived over 3 (m) million years old.
It has been described as perhaps the biggest anthropological discovery ever in Africa.
The find stems from the discovery four years ago of ankle and foot bones mistakenly labelled as animal fossils at the University of the Witwatersrand.
It was in this cave that the discovery was made.
Researcher Ron Clarke was one of the team that uncovered ankle and foot bones.
At the time he thought it belonged to the Australopithecus, a creature which had both human and apelike features.
Later, they were found to resemble more of a human ancestor.
A news conference to announce the findings was held at the University of the Witwatersrand attended by the South African Deputy President Thabo Mbeki.
Philip Tobias, Professor Emeritus of the Witwatersrand anatomy department hailed the discovery as possibly the greatest ever find in Africa.
"I go so far as to say that Clarke's, Molefe's and Watsimi's discovery is the most significant find ever made in South Africa since the original discovery of the Taung child in 1924. Probably it is the most anthropological find ever made in South Africa."
SUPER CAPTION: Philip Tobias, Professor Emeritus of the Witwatersrand anatomy department
Following up on his original find, Clarke and his team then identified the rest of the skeleton.
Some of the remaining bones and skull were in university cupboards.
Others they found by revisiting the cave near Johannesburg where the other foot bones were found.
"I found that fitted on to another piece of bone that was sticking out next to it. This fibula was also visible there. Now this was remarkable because this was the left lower leg and foot and they were side by side face down. And I thought: my goodness we must have the whole skeleton here."
SUPER CAPTION: Ron Clarke, researcher
Clarke's findings were due to be published on Thursday in the journal Nature.
They appeared on Wednesday in the South African Journal of Science.
Already scientists are piecing together the implications of the find.
They believe the 3.6 (m) million-year-old human ancestor lived in a wooded area and was capable of climbing trees.
Much of the latest skeleton remains embedded in fossil rock at the Sterkfontein Caves.