The newly discovered hominid fossils emerging this week from deep in a South African cave have been there for a long time.
Whatever species they belong to, some of their relatives (maybe direct descendants, maybe very distant relatives) went on to fill new niches as slowly the population filled with taller, larger-brained individuals. Still these bones lay somewhere nearby.
Our cultures and civilizations have risen and fallen and moved and changed, and there, 30 meters below the surface, these bones lay in a dark, nearly inaccessible cave.
Throughout it all, the land itself has both changed in ways and stayed the same in others. The rocks are largely the same. The plants might be mostly unrecognizable. Hominids still live nearby. For the time being, our expedition team is a good number of them.
With more than 30 people camped at the base of the hill containing the caves, more people live here now than perhaps at any other time.
It’s a beautiful landscape. And it has many stories to tell.