Understanding the extinction of
Australopithecusand origins of Paranthropusand Homoin South Africa has been hampered by the perceived complex geological context of hominin fossils, poor chronological resolution, and a lack of well-preserved early Homospecimens. We describe, date, and contextualize the discovery of two hominin crania from Drimolen Main Quarry in South Africa. At ~2.04 million to 1.95 million years old, DNH 152 represents the earliest definitive occurrence of Paranthropus robustus, and DNH 134 represents the earliest occurrence of a cranium with clear affinities to Homo erectus. These crania also show that Homo, Paranthropus, and Australopithecuswere contemporaneous at ~2 million years ago. This high taxonomic diversity is also reflected in non-hominin species and provides evidence of endemic evolution and dispersal during a period of climatic variability.