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The ages assigned to these fossils have been obtained through radiometric dating of volcanic rocks interbedded with the fossiliferous sediments.
Such numerical calibrations are crucial to understanding rates and timing of evolutionary change.
Within moments, he spotted a right proximal ulna (forearm bone) and quickly identified it as a hominid.
Shortly thereafter, he saw an occipital (skull) bone, then a femur, some ribs, a pelvis, and the lower jaw.
Two weeks later, after many hours of excavation, screening, and sorting, several hundred fragments of bone had been recovered, representing 40 percent of a single hominid skeleton.