New exhibition opens at Maropeng: Insects from the Distant Past

  • April 21, 2009

Did you know?

  • One in five species of living organism is a beetle
  • The largest insect that ever lived was larger than a pigeon and had a wing span of up to 71cm (28in)
  • The oldest insect that we have fossil records of is about 400-million years old

Maropeng opened a new exhibition today, April 16, 2009. On display in the Original Fossil Exhibition at the Maropeng Visitor Centre is a variety of fossilised insects from Southern Africa.

The fossils include early cockroaches found in the Karoo, well-preserved insects found at the Orapa diamond mine in Botswana, and even fly larvae found alongside hominid fossils in the Cradle of Humankind.

“What I find interesting is that there are so many species of insects and yet they are given so little attention. They play a huge role in our lives, it’s silly that we pay them so little attention or respect. We are so quick to just stand on them. Some of these fossils are over 400 million years old. How do you even relate to that? It’s so interesting,” said Maropeng Marketing Manager Erica Saunders.

Members of the local media were invited to have a preview of the exhibition on Wednesday, April 15.

“It’s so interesting – something you don’t hear about every day, something completely different. I think a lot of people will come to see the exhibition,” said Leshe Luus, a writer from Magalisberg-based newspaper Voorstoep. “It’s an absolute must!”

Dr Ian McKay, co-ordinator for the School of Geosciences Programme at Wits University, was on hand to answer their questions and guide them through the exhibits.

“I’m quite interested to see how members of the public will react, especially kids. I hope that people take time to look through the lenses and see the details of the insects,” said Dr McKay.

The exhibition will run until the end of July. Entrance to the Original Fossil Exhibition is included in the ticket price for the Visitor Centre.

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