human evolution

After three weeks of deep-cave hominid fossil recovery, the Rising Star Expedition has wrapped on its final day of excavations. The caver/scientists known as “underground astronauts” will return Wednesday to complete the 3D scans of the entire fossil chamber, walls and all. They will be aided by the caving support team as they remove the…

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A member of Lee Berger’s exploration team who first located the hominid fossils in the Rising Star cave system and who now serves as indispensable guide and support for the scientists, Rick Hunter offers his reflections on standing sentry in the caverns, and on the long journey from daylight into the caves, through winding passages, a belly-crawl…

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Paleoanthropologist and science blogger John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the experts on site at the Rising Star Expedition, analyzing fossils, monitoring activity from the Command Center, and helping tell the story from the senior scientists’ perspective. For real-time updates follow him on Twitter @JohnHawks. By John Hawks Saturday we went over…

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As scientists work to identify and catalog the now more than 800 hominid fossils recovered on the Rising Star Expedition, they pull from a body of knowledge accumulated over decades in their field. An intimate knowledge not only of broad principles but of specific specimens around the world is their constant reference as each piece…

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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…

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By John Hawks Monday, Nov. 18 — It’s a rare quiet morning here at Rising Star as we give the underground team the morning to tour Sterkfontein Caves, just a kilometer away (read about their day off). You might think that going into another cave wouldn’t be a break, but you get into Sterkfontein by…

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After a day off for a field trip to other Cradle of Humankind sites yesterday, this morning, the expedition is back on in full swing. “Batten hatches,” was the last item on the whiteboard at this morning’s briefing. Most days by 6:30am the sun is baking us already, but today by 5:30 clouds had rolled…

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Your browser does not support iframes. “About half way through it became pretty clear that we weren’t going to leave until it was out. There was no way we were stopping.” Becca Peixotto was not messing around today. The original plan for the Rising Star Expedition involved removing exposed bones on Sunday, and beginning to…

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“I just want to say, ‘Oh my goodness.’” Lee Berger wrapped up an impromptu meeting tonight with an almost giddy attitude. A moment earlier he had been all business, asking the caver/scientists for their thoughts on how best to tackle their latest obstacles, which are considerable: there are too many bones; they need to adjust…

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On the first day in the fossil chamber at the Rising Star Expedition outside of Johannesburg, Lee Berger’s team recovered a hominid mandible. Seeing other bones lying about, they went to bed (or sleeping bag, rather) with the thrill of knowing they were working on one of paleoanthropology’s most treasured finds: a partial hominid skeleton….

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“We have a mandible. We’ve seen the skull. And there are more bones. Lots of them.” With his team of “underground astronauts” safely ascending out of a deep and narrow cave with hominid fossil in hand, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger is ecstatic. The sun is setting and streaking the South African sky with layers…

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Expedition Underway to Extract Latest Fossil Find From Cradle of Humankind Cave Six specialised archaeological cavers in SA to help with new excavation An international team of researchers will in the next few days begin excavations on a new site that may contain evidence of early human fossil remains in the Cradle of Humankind World…

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