VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
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NG Explorer Lee Berger introduces his latest expedition, an exploration deep inside a landscape that has been home and tomb to humans and our ancestors for thousands of millennia.
“We have a mandible. We’ve seen the skull. And there are more bones. Lots of them.” NG Explorer Lee Berger’s expedition in South Africa reveals a find for the ages: an early hominid with skull and bones together.
Archaeologists in South Africa descend into the deepest part of a cave containing newly discovered early hominid fossils in one of the most technically challenging and hi-tech paleoanthropological expeditions yet.
On the very first day of entering the fossil chamber 30 meters below ground, a team of archaeologists recovers a fossil that paves the way for many new discoveries.
Within 24 hours of beginning their fossil recovery, scientists on the Rising Star Expedition discover that the cave contains more than one individual.
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.
Scientists from around the world are camped outside Johannesburg, recovering and studying a cache of ancient hominid fossils. None of them would be there if it weren’t for a couple of local recreational cavers.
After days of collecting only bones that sat on the surface of the cave floor, a team of scientists carefully excavates part of a hominid skull, which could be the key to identifying the species of the many individuals found in the cave.
While the caver/scientists underground remain blissfully unaware of what’s going on up top, a South African thunderstorm moves in and creates a show of sights and sounds for the rest of the team.
Climbing, squeezing, dragging, and pushing yourself through tiny passages in a cave can take a serious toll on your body. The cavers and scientists of the Rising Star Expedition though are willing to bash and bruise themselves to recover the broken bones of untold numbers of ancient hominids.