West Coast Fossil Park

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West Coast Fossil Park
Fossils in situ at the West Coast Fossil Park excavations.
Fossils in situ at the West Coast Fossil Park excavations.
Coordinates 32°57′33″S 18°07′02″E / 32.9592°S 18.1172°E / -32.9592; 18.1172Coordinates: 32°57′33″S 18°07′02″E / 32.9592°S 18.1172°E / -32.9592; 18.1172
Area Langebaanweg, Western Cape, South Africa
Created 1996

The West Coast Fossil Park is a fossil park near Langebaanweg, Western Cape, South Africa, approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) north of Cape Town.[1] The fossil sites of Langebaanweg have exceptionally well-preserved remains of fossil fauna that date to circa 5.2 million years ago.[2] In this period sea levels were higher and many now extinct animals lived in the riverine forests, wooded savanna and along the sea coast near the present day Langebaanweg site. Phosphate mining operations at Langebaanweg uncovered these rich fossil deposits. The fossils include bones of over 200 different animal species. This represents possibly the greatest diversity of five-million-year-old fossils found anywhere in the world.[3] The fossil park was formed after mining operations ceased in 1993.[4] The park is partnered with the Iziko South African Museum.

In 1996 the former National Monuments Council declared the site a national monument.[5] With the introduction of the National Heritage Resources Act in 2000 it became a provincial heritage site and in March 2012 the provincial heritage resources authority, Heritage Western Cape significantly expanded the area that is protected.[6]


  1. ^ "West Coast Fossil Park website". Iziko Museums of Cape Town. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  2. ^ Hendey, Q. B. (1982). Langebaanweg: A Record of Past Life. Cape Town: South African Museum. p. 72. ISBN 0868130176. 
  3. ^ Haarhoff, Pippa (2007). "The West Coast Fossil Park: Incorporating the Langebaanweg Palaeontological Site". Innovation for Development. Pretoria: Department of Science & Technology. 5: 20–21. 
  4. ^ "About the West Coast Fossil Park". Iziko Museums of Cape Town. Archived from the original on 2008-04-25. Retrieved 2009-12-06. [dead link]
  5. ^ Government Notice 17457, 4 October 1996
  6. ^ Provincial Notice 69/2012,Province of the Western Cape Provincial Gazette Extraordinary, No. 606, Cape Town: 23 March 2012

External links[edit]