Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Visit to our Ancestors

Maybe you've heard the amazing news that a new hominid species was discovered?! And it was discovered about an hour from where we live in South Africa!

Homo Naledi ("Star" in Sesotho) comes from the single largest fossil find ever. In the "Chamber of Stars" cave, researchers from the University of Witswatersrand found over 1500 fossil fragments, and they believe a lot more are in there. 

The finding was discovered in 2013, but just announced about 1 month ago. The fossils were on display at the Maropeng visitor center in the Cradle of Human Kind, for one month only. We made it up there a couple weekends ago to see the fossils. 

The fossils are laid out in the glass case below. They have so far found fossil fragments from 15 different individuals. The man in the top right corner in the gray shirt and black hat, Steven Tucker, was the person who actually discovered the cave and the fossils. We spoke to him a bit about his find, which was really cool and made seeing the fossils a much more personal and vivid experience. He is a recreational caver and was with a friend in a well known networks of caves when he inched off into a crack to get out of his friends way and found the entrance (well if you consider a 12 meter deep crack only 18 cm wide an entrance) to the chamber. He was the first one down, saw hominid bone fragments, and the rest is now history, hominid history!

Nova and Nat Geo have a very interesting special on the history and discovery of this find, it is called "The Dawn of Humanity" and is streaming online on PBS. I highly recommend watching it!

Re-creation of the skull

Piper with her new friend Australopithecus Sediba

After visiting H. Naledi we came across another very unique find, a restaurant called Goblins Cove, hidden in a forest. Complete with goblins, fairies, lots of cats and monkeys, a play ground, and pretty good food!

What a fun little adventure visiting our old ancestors from earth and middle earth!

1 comment:

Marie said...

Very, very cool!!

Ok say "Australopithecus Sediba" really fast five times in a row. ;)