Video: Caver/Scientists Bring Up First Hominid Fossil

On the very first day of entering the fossil chamber 30 meters below ground, a team of scientists recovered a fossil that paves the way for many new discoveries.

Marina Elliott, the first of the excavators to enter the fossil chamber said her first thoughts after squeezing down the 12-meter crack that leads to the fossil chamber were of Howard Carter entering Tutankhamun’s tomb. When asked if he could see anything, he could only reply “Yes, wonderful things!”

Even King Tut’s tomb didn’t compare with the sight for Lindsay Eaves. Shortly after surfacing, her face still smeared with cave dirt, she went even bigger: “I felt like a dragon on my hoard!”

Across the board though, thinking of any of the material as belonging to anyone is far from anyone’s mind. ┬áThere is a pervasive sense that being here in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, the remains in this cave are a human-family treasure shared by everyone. As one of the experts on site Steve Churchill of Duke University said, their involvement with these bones is not about ownership, it’s about stewardship.


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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.