Rising Star Expedition

After the field trip the day before, the excavation team was eager to get back into the cave. The early hominids seemed just as eager to get out. The first goal of the day was to finish excavating the recently revealed mandible. For twenty minutes, the top-side folks were gathered around the monitors watching as…

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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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The Rising Star Cave system is a series of cracks, chambers, and tunnels through a hill of dolomitic limestone, just like all the other hills in the area. Walk to the top of the hill and within your field of vision are the entrances to hundreds of known caves. This is not the only one…

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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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Scientists from South Africa, the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Switzerland are camped out on a farm outside Johannesburg, recovering and studying a cache of ancient hominid fossils. None of them would be there if it weren’t for the skills of South Africa’s caving community. Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg hired…

Human Journey

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Steve Churchill, post-cranial specialist on the Rising Star Expedition shows off the hominid skull replicas in the Science tent, and explains how the team uses them to help identify the skull pieces emerging from the cave below. In South Africa, three hominid genera have been discovered to date: Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and Homo. By having casts of…

Wildlife

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