APRIL 2012 MAROPENG INFORMATION

  • April 01, 2012

From Bone Detectives to the Stargazing, here are some events that will be taking place in the month of April:

April 14: Coopers Cave Picnic and walking tour

How would you like to explore a living museum, where the fossils embedded in the rock describe the world as it was between 1.4- and 1.8-million years ago?

Maropeng and palaeobiologist Dr Christine Steininger are offering budding palaeontologists the rare opportunity to explore the 1.5-million-year-old Cooper’s Cave. Located near the famous Sterkfontein Caves, Cooper’s Cave has yielded numerous fossils of previously unidentified animals, and a rich assembly of stone tools.

The day’s activities include an interactive fossil and site talk, exploring a cave, a chance to look for fossils in recently excavated deposits, and learning how to make stone tools.

You’ll never know what you’ll find at Cooper’s

Cooper’s Cave is one of the most diverse and abundant fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind. “You can walk through the site and see literally hundreds of fossils in the rocks around you,” says Steininger. It’s an incredible experience.”

Fossils of the extinct hominid Paranthropus Robustus have been found at Cooper’s and the site is also known to be home to fossils of predators.

Large carnivore species, such as sabre-toothed cats, hyenas and a new species of large dog have also been found there, alongside evidence that they all co-existed.

One of the largest primates recorded at Cooper’s is believed to weigh 67kg, which is bigger than other hominids that existed in the Cradle. This raises the question, which primate was more dominant, the bipedal hominid or the large quadrupedal baboon?

A fun family day out in the Cradle of Humankind

This is a must for adults and children with an interest in palaeontology and archaeology. Remember to pack a jersey, torch, hat, apply sunscreen and wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes – and bring your camera!

As Christine tells her guests, “If you don’t spot a fossil, there is something wrong with your eyes, there are literally hundreds of fossils visible on the surface.”

The tour will start at 09h00 at Sterkfontein Caves. The cost of the tour is R350 per person and includes a light picnic lunch.

Guests are also able to combine the event with an overnight stay at the luxurious Maropeng Boutique Hotel for a special rate. 

Please note this tour will only go ahead if there is a minimum of ten people.

For bookings email magaliesinformer@maropeng.co.za, call (014) 577 9000 or visit www.maropeng.co.za and click on shop.

April 21: Bone Detectives: Following the footsteps of legends

Recent fossil discoveries at the Cradle of Humankind held the world entranced. They also shed new light on the painstaking work of the dedicated scientists who unravel our evolutionary history in their giant sandpit at the Cradle.

Anyone intrigued by our beginnings cannot fail to be fascinated by the great minds behind the meticulous investigation, an exploration that unearthed vital fossil evidence this last century.
Led by up-and-coming scientist Brendon Billings, the legends tour delves into the fossil discoveries of world-renowned scientific pioneers Raymond Dart, Robert Broom, Bob Brain and Phillip Tobias of Wits University, in their search in and around the Sterkfontein Caves and surrounding areas.

During the tour Billings highlights their discoveries in his engrossing historical account of the tremendous wealth of fossil material obtained from fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind. You will also be shown a display of casts of fossil remains unearthed in this region, and learn of their importance in reconstructing our evolutionary history.

After the bone tour, explore Sterkfontein Caves with the award winning expert tourist guide Reuben Tsime. The Cave Tour gives an understanding of the mammoth scale of enquiry achieved at Sterkfontein, and how significant this was in propelling South African paleoanthropology into the forefront of research into human origins.

Round off your experience with a fantastic picnic buffet lunch overlooking the beautiful Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, which provides a poignant reminder of the landscape on which the human evolutionary story began, and continues to play out. Please note this tour will only take place if there is a minimum of seven people.

Accommodation special

Why not combine the event with an overnight stay at the luxurious Maropeng Boutique Hotel for a special rate?

For bookings email magaliesinformer@maropeng.co.za, call (014) 577 9000 or visit www.maropeng.co.za and click on shop.

April 28: Stargazing: You are here

Explore your place in the universe through the night sky and expand on your personal sense of wonder and discovery.

The very scale of the universe is mind-boggling: Planet Earth appears as a mere speck of dust amongst the innumerable galaxies, each consisting of billions of stars.

Join Maropeng’s resident astronomer, Vincent Nettmann, as he takes you on a 15-billion-light-year journey from Earth to the extreme edge of the known universe.

The evening begins at 17:00 with welcome drinks on the Tumulus deck where you can enjoy breathtaking views over the Cradle of Humankind as the sun sets.

The stargazing presentation will be followed by a buffet dinner. Remember to bring binoculars so you can participate in this laser-guided sky tour. Subject to weather conditions, you will be able to observe the summer sky objects and the moon through a range of large aperture telescopes.

Guests are also able to combine the event with an overnight stay at the luxurious Maropeng Boutique Hotel for a special rate. 

For bookings email magaliesinformer@maropeng.co.za, call (014) 577 9000 or visit www.maropeng.co.za and click on shop.

COMPILED ON BEHALF OF MAROPENG BY CATHY FINDLEY PUBLIC RELATIONS. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT NICOLLE KAIRUZ ON (011) 463 6372 OR  NICOLLE@FINDLEYPR.CO.ZA

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