Video: “Underground Astronauts” Prepare to Recover Hominid Fossils

Just a few weeks after their initial discovery, the hominid fossils resting on the ground of a tiny cave in South Africa are less than a day away from seeing the light of day.

The international team of paleontologists and archaeologists, with the added skill set of being capable cavers who can fit through the tiniest of passages, just met for the first time and have spent the past few days on site getting to know each other and getting ready for the unusual tasks and challenges ahead. And they all happen to be women.

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger calls them “underground astronauts.”

Watch the video above and you can see why.


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Meet the Author
Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.