Bringing history home!

Bringing history home!

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South Africans and visitors to the country will get their first look at the almost two-million-year-old female skeleton of Australopithecus sediba, the new species of hominid discovered in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site (COH WHS), some 40 kilometres from Johannesburg.

The first public viewing of the partial skeleton of the adult female follows the recent naming of the Australopithecus sediba juvenile male fossil as “Karabo” (“Answer” in Tswana and Sotho). In celebration of South Africa hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, the two partial skeletons of early hominids will be on display at the same time, and for the first time, though not in the same place. “Karabo” is currently on view at the Origins Centre , at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The adult female will be displayed at the Maropeng Visitor Centre , located in the COH WHS, home of the world’s richest concentration of early hominid fossils. This is a unique opportunity to see the original fossils of these two skeletons, which presumably died together and were potentially related to each other.

Due to the interest that the public have shown in the discovery of this new hominid species, and in celebration of the heritage of South Africa, the Cradle of Humankind WHS Management Authority, Maropeng and the Origins Centre have organised a special package that allows visitors to see both of these incredible fossils. This innovative package, to run from June 11 to July 11, 2010, enables people to see not only “Karabo” at the Origins Centre, but also the female sediba fossil at Maropeng. In addition, with the same ticket, visitors can enjoy a tour of the Sterkfontein Caves, the site of the discovery of other early hominid fossils including “Mrs Ples” and “Little Foot”.

For R210 per adult and R100 per child, the package includes access to the Origins Centre and a combined ticket to visit both Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves. The COH WHS features a system of fossil-bearing caves containing a well-preserved record of the various stages in the evolution of humankind over the past 3.5-million years.

Karabo”, who is thought to have been between 9 and 13 years old when he died, was discovered by Matthew Berger, the son of renowned Wits palaeoanthropologist Professor Lee Berger. Following this, Professor Berger found a second partial skeleton of an adult female lying just a few centimetres away. The sediba fossils date back around two million years. The discovery of these fossils may possibly be one of the most significant palaeoanthropological discoveries in recent time.

The joint ticket is on sale at both the Origins Centre and the Maropeng Visitor Centre. Visitors need not go to all three sites in one day, and can spread their visit over the validity period. However, as the Maropeng and Sterkfontein ticket is a combined one, these two sites must be visited on the same day.

For further information follow the links alongside.

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