After days of collecting only bones that sat on the surface of the cave floor, a team of scientists carefully excavates part of a hominid skull, which could be the key to identifying the species of the many individuals found in the cave.
While the caver/scientists underground remain blissfully unaware of what’s going on up top, a South African thunderstorm moves in and creates a show of sights and sounds for the rest of the team.
With the skull pieces drying and nearly ready to reassemble, hominid skull expert Darryl de Ruiter arrives on site and reveals secrets of the trade.
Taking a break from the stresses and excitement of the excavation, the team took a day to visit two other sites in the Cradle of Humankind.
John Hawks explains why the biggest questions about the site of the new hominid fossil discovery still have no answers, and why that makes this one of the most important stages of research.
After a day off, the team is eager to get back in the cave, and the hominids seem just as eager to get out. The fossil count jumps to 400 and the pop culture references ensue.
Climbing, squeezing, dragging, and pushing yourself through tiny passages in a cave can take a serious toll on your body. The cavers and scientists of the Rising Star Expedition though are willing to bash and bruise themselves to recover the broken bones of untold numbers of ancient hominids.
By Elen Feuerriegel 20th November 2013 The day starts (officially) at 6am. I’m up a little earlier this morning. Crawl out of my sleeping bag and tent to the sight of Lee Berger bounding around. Lee is a Morning Person. Marina has been up since the predawn. Typically, she is the one who organises and…
Discover the key features that guide scientists as they work to identify skull pieces recovered on the Rising Star Expedition.
The excavators and cavers get a day off to explore the nearby site where Lee Berger discovered the first remains of Australopithecus sediba.
Lead caver Rick Hunter offers his reflections on the otherworldly journey from daylight to the fossil chamber and back.
This three-week mission is now drawing to a close, but the magnitude of the early hominid discovery on the Rising Star Expedition means this story is far from over. See how the saga will continue.
After weeks of minute-by-minute updates from the field, Lee Berger finally tells the story of his latest hominid discovery from in its entirety.
When you’re trying to understand all that a few bones can tell us about our early hominid ancestors, there’s no substitute for hands-on experience with the fossils themselves, says “underground astronaut” Elen Feuerriegel.
Next time you picture a scientist at work on a computer, skip the white-walled laboratory, and think of this instead.