Australopithecus prometheus Dart, 1948
Year: 1948
Taxonomic Rank: Species
Holotype: MLD 1
Status: Potentially valid

Dart (1948) proposed the name Australopihecus prometheus based on the MLD 1 occipital fracgement from Makapansgat as the holotype. The etymology of the name derives from Darts interpretation that the Makapansgat sediments held evidence of true hearths. For many years the name was treated as a junior synonym of Australopithecus africanus.

Campbell (1965) lists the name as valid (i.e. available)

Berger and Hawks (2019) argued that the nomen is unavailable because it is a nomen nudem and/or it is nomen dubium. Clarke (2019) rebutts this claim and argues that the nomen is available and valid. Clarke and Kuman (2019) resurected the name for the Sterkfontein skeleton recovered from the Silberberg Grotto, Stw 573.

Dart (1948) provides a limited description and differential diagnosis thus we conclude, with Clarke (2019) that the name is available and potentially valid. Further, the type specimen has not been lost and was well illustrated in the original manuscript, thus precluding the name from nomen dubium status. The name is perhaps better given as an example of a nomen vanum, a name that meets the technical conditiions of the Code but is difficult to apply in practice because the material is sparse and fragmentary.

Authorship Reference