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Adventurer, archaeologist, anthropologist: meet Maropeng’s new curator

Keneiloe Molopyane could best be described as a bonafide adventurer. The archaeologist and biological anthropology PhD candidate is now also the new curator of the acclaimed museum at the Maropeng Visitor Centre.

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WATCH: Professor Lee Berger explains the new Homo naledi discovery

Scientists today announced a groundbreaking new Homo naledi discovery at Maropeng. Watch Rising Star expedition leader Professor Lee Berger explain the new finds.

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How Citizen Science Changed the Way Fukushima Radiation is Reported

Photos By Ari Beser Tokyo – “It appears the world-changing event didn’t change anything, and it’s disappointing,”said Pieter Franken, a researcher at Keio University in Japan (Wide Project), the MIT Media Lab (Civic Media Centre), and co-founder of Safecast, a citizen-science network dedicated to the measurement and distribution of accurate levels of radiation around the…

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What Can We Learn From Homo naledi’s Skull?

From the tip of the jaw to the top of the head, remains from five naledi skulls provide tantalizing early hints about the lives of these newly found ancient human relatives.
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Homo naledi’s Nike-Ready Foot

See how early in the excavation, a single ankle bone was able to show researchers that Homo naledi was walking comfortably on two feet.
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Homo naledi’s Powerful Hand Up Close

With an incredibly muscular thumb and curved fingers for powerful gripping, the newly found Homo naledi could have given today’s rock climbers like Alex Honnold a run (or a climb) for their money.
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How the Naledi Team Solved a 1,550-Piece Puzzle

With Africa’s largest hominin fossil find unearthed and in the lab, Lee Berger called in experts and early-career scientists for an innovative workshop to figure out just what they’d found.

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Homo naledi: 1,500 Fossils Revolutionize Human Family Tree

Two years after being discovered deep in a South African cave, the 1,500 fossils excavated during the Rising Star Expedition have been identified as belonging to a previously unknown early human relative that scientists have named “Homo naledi.”

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Scientists announce groundbreaking discovery at Maropeng

The world’s eyes are on Maropeng, where a team of scientists from around the world have announced the discovery of a new species, Homo naledi. An intriguing ancient species, that it seems, was aware of its own mortality, a trait that has been thought to be unique to humans.

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Wrapping Up Round Two

By Becca Peixotto, Caver/Scientist. In only eight days of digging, we retrieved more than 320 numbered fossil specimens and an awful lot of sediment. Don’t worry: there’s plenty more.

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Young Visitor Helps Recover First Top Jaw From the Site

Principal excavator Becca Peixotto reports back on this week’s activity at the Rising Star hominin fossil cave site.

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What’s New at This Week’s Excavation

Discover what’s new about this expedition returning to the hominin fossil chamber at Rising Star.

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A critical piece of the hominin puzzle

The team is back in the cave to recover a tantalizing piece of upper jaw and other fossils in preparation for the groundbreaking workshop to begin in May.
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Scientists return to explore a second fossil chamber

On the final day of the Rising Star cave excavations in November of 2013, researchers confirmed that a second chamber also contained hominin fossils. Now they return for a closer examination.

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Rising Star Photo Wins Australian Archaeology Award

Next time you picture a scientist at work on a computer, skip the white-walled laboratory, and think of this instead.

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A Bone in Hand Is Worth Ten in a Book

When you’re trying to understand all that a few bones can tell us about our early hominid ancestors, there’s no substitute for hands-on experience with the fossils themselves, says “underground astronaut” Elen Feuerriegel.

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A Voice From the Cave: Lee Berger on the NG Weekend Radio Show

After weeks of minute-by-minute updates from the field, Lee Berger finally tells the story of his latest hominid discovery from in its entirety.

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Final Day of Excavations

This three-week mission is now drawing to a close, but the magnitude of the early hominid discovery on the Rising Star Expedition means this story is far from over. See how the saga will continue.

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The Journey Into Darkness

Lead caver Rick Hunter offers his reflections on the otherworldly journey from daylight to the fossil chamber and back.

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Field Trip to Malapa

The excavators and cavers get a day off to explore the nearby site where Lee Berger discovered the first remains of Australopithecus sediba.

Know Your Hominid Skulls

Discover the key features that guide scientists as they work to identify skull pieces recovered on the Rising Star Expedition.

The View From a Caver/Scientist

By Elen Feuerriegel 20th November 2013 The day starts (officially) at 6am. I’m up a little earlier this morning. Crawl out of my sleeping bag and tent to the sight of Lee Berger bounding around. Lee is a Morning Person. Marina has been up since the predawn. Typically, she is the one who organises and…

Video: Taking a Beating for Science

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.
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We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Tent

After a day off, the team is eager to get back in the cave, and the hominids seem just as eager to get out. The fossil count jumps to 400 and the pop culture references ensue.