In this week’s photo essay we look at how artists built the models of hominids whose fossil remains were found in the Sterkfontein Caves and other sites in the Cradle of Humankind and around the world.
Maropeng is home to a number of hominid models. Because fossil evidence lacks all soft tissue, skin, eyes and hair, it’s hard to imagine what these hominid species may have looked like. But reconstructing them as models gives the visitor to Maropeng a glimpse into a life that existed many millions of years ago.
Original fossils like Mrs Ples are irreplaceable, so they are housed in secured vaults in various academic institutions. The original fossils are only periodically displayed as part of temporary exhibitions at Maropeng. However, casts of these important fossils are permanently displayed at Maropeng.
All the lifelike hominid illustrations in the exhibition – from the 7-million-year-old Toumai fossil from Chad through to modern humans – have been produced by world-acclaimed and award-winning palaeoartist John Gurche. His exhibits can also be seen at the Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and he worked on the hit film Jurassic Park.Read more
Aspiring astronauts and space explorers of all ages are invited to join Maropeng for an expedition to the stars.Read more
Former US vice-president and environmental activist Al Gore was hosted by Maropeng, the official visitor centre of the Cradle of Humankind, during the IBM Smarter Planet Conference this past week. Gore was the guest of honour at the conference, which presented software solutions for a smarter planet.
Gore, who is also known for his award-winning documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, delivered the keynote address on Thursday.Read more
As summer approaches, it’s time to move outdoors and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. This week’s photo essay showcases the natural beauty you can enjoy from the deck of the Maropeng Hotel. The hotel is surrounded by the Witwatersberg and Magaliesberg ranges, offering guests spectacular views, which can be taken in while enjoying a delicious cocktail made by our talented barmen.Read more
When he was growing up, Peter Langa wanted to be a geologist. But due to financial constraints his mother advised him to enrol for a hospitality course at Pretoria College instead. Today, Peter is a head chef at Maropeng.
Being a chef, says Peter, is like being a child with clay in your hands. “Playing with food is like playing with clay – you create something different every day,” he explains.
Peter has been working at Maropeng for a year and seven months now, and he’s loved every minute of it. “I am enjoying myself a lot and I am becoming more and more creative. I started out as a sous chef and I am now head chef.”Read more
Thousands of tourists flock to South Africa each year to see “the big five”. But at Maropeng, rather than requiring you to squint into the bush from a 4x4 to catch a glimpse of them, the big five will serve you cocktails at the pool or a delicious meal at the Tumulus Restaurant.
Dubbed “the big five”, the food and beverage team at Maropeng are a dynamic and highly capable group who welcome any challenge that is thrown at them.Read more
This week’s photo essay looks at the theory of evolution using the Maropeng exhibition as a backdrop. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) is world-renowned for his theory of evolution. In his book The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Darwin argued the case for natural selection – that over time creatures which are able to adapt biologically to changes in their environments (in other words, evolve) survive, while those that don’t adapt become extinct.
It’s only in the past 50 years or so that the theory of evolution has received wide-scale acceptance. Anatomical indications which support the concept of evolution can be seen in hominid fossils from the Sterkfontein Caves and other sites in the Cradle of Humankind.Read more
Maropeng’s dynamic duo, Curator Lindsay Marshall and Education Marketing Executive Magel van de Venter, were out in full force at this year’s University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Yebo Gogga show. This annual interactive life - sciences show attracts both young and old through its doors.
This is the first year that Maropeng has exhibited at the show.Read more
This week’s photo essay features the amazing Sterkfontein Caves exhibition. The exhibition is the first stop for those taking the tour of Sterkfontein Caves, a cave system that has been excavated by palaeontologists and archaeologists since 1936, when the first hominid fossil was found there. The exhibition marks the beginning of a wondrous journey into the world of human evolution and discovery.
All the lifelike hominid illustrations in the exhibition – from the 7-million-year-old Toumai fossil from Chad through to modern humans – has been produced by world-acclaimed and award-winning palaeoartist John Gurche, whose exhibits can be seen at the Smithsonian Institute, the Field Museum and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and who worked on the hit film Jurassic Park.Read more