Maropeng, Cradle of Mankind and Homo naledi : part 2

Maropeng, Cradle of Mankind and Homo naledi : part 2

Following on from previous post which highlighted Maropeng in the World Heritage Site of Cradle of Mankind, about 50 km from Johannesburg :-

Having been through the most interesting visitors centre in the Tumulus building, Onica, our very knowledgeable guide, ushered us into the Original Fossil Display area where we were privileged to see the Homo naledi fossils. The fossils were found by recreational cavers Steve Tucker and Rick Hunter in September 2013 in a dolomite cave system called Rising Star.  The discovery, which was unveiled at Maropeng, has been featured on front pages around the world.  Homo naledi has been identified as an entirely new species of early human ancestor, which scientists believe may have deliberately disposed of its dead – a behaviour that has been thought to be unique to humans

I was there 🙂 !! ..

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“There were some 1 550 specimens in all, representing at least 15 individuals.  Skulls. Jaws.  Ribs.  Dozens of teeth.  A nearly complete foot.  A hand, virtually every bone intact, arranged as in life.  Minuscule bones of an inner ear.  Elderly adults.  Juveniles.  Infants, identified by their thimble-size vertebrae.”  quote from National Geographic, Oct 2015 by Paleoanthropologist, Professor Lee Berger

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The exact age of the fossils is still to be determined – Prof Berger is quoted in Sunday Times Sept 13, 2015  ” if Homo naledi turned out to be older than two million years, ‘it would represent the earliest appearance of Homo that is based on more than just an isolated fragment’.  But, if the fossils were less than a million years old, ‘it would demonstrate that several different types of ancient humans all existed at the same time in southern Africa, including an especially small-brained form like Homo naledi’  

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In the corner of the display room was a full size reconstruction of Australopitheacus sediba  (I suppose as a comparison)

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I found the whole experience fascinating and extremely interesting ..

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On the way out …

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I couldn’t pass handprints of Nelson Mandela without comparing mine 🙂 ..

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… and footprint of Archbishop Desmond Tutu 🙂

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Panoramic view from here …

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Hubby and our Australian friends chatting while we wait for the others …

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Intriguing wall with Di in the foreground …

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Walking up to the Lookout Point, I popped into the kiddies cave …

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Lookout Point .. same view as before just higher 😉

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Di, again, in restorative pose 🙂

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You are missing out on something very special if you haven’t been yet

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