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Putting a face to a fossil: Meet John Gurche

We chatted to renowned palaeoartist John Gurche about his fascinating work of creating a face from a fossil. You may recognise his work from museums, publications and even some movies.


#FossilFriday feature: Drimolen skull shows evidence of microevolution

A skull discovered at the Drimolen Palaeocave System in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is making global headlines. Researchers say the Paranthropus robustus specimen shows evidence of microevolution. The findings were published earlier this week.

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Exploring battlefields in the Cradle of Humankind: The Battle of Dwarsvlei

On 11 November each year, millions around the world mark Remembrance Day in tribute to lives lost in World War I. South Africa’s own history means there are many old battlefields in areas across our country. Celebrated environmentalist and author, Vincent Carruthers is producing a three-part series for Maropeng on these sites in the Cradle of Humankind. Here’s the first instalment, on the battle of Dwarsvlei.

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Changing the narrative: celebrating South Africa’s young scientists

Whether they’re making their own stone tools, squeezing through caves or making anthropology accessible to more South Africans, our country has a vibrant cohort of young scientists who are doing their bit to uncover humanity’s origin story. During Youth Month this year, we decided to turn the spotlight on them.

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Owning the African story: the role of museums in 2020

When she took the reins as curator at Maropeng, adventurer and archaeologist Keneiloe Molopyane had a compelling notion of the importance of museums in society. Nine months later, on International Museum Day, Molopyane, an archaeologist and biological anthropology PhD candidate, shared her thoughts on the impact and importance of museums on the African continent.

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How to keep learning during lockdown

Are you scrambling to find interesting ways to keep your children busy during the lockdown? Here’s a look at some of our favourite ideas from around the world.

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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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Keep your eyes peeled for the Geminid meteor shower

Armchair astronomers in South Africa will have their eyes to the skies at midnight tonight to catch a glimpse of the Geminid meteor shower, the annual phenomenon NASA calls the last and strongest meteor shower of the year.


The Blombos Cave discovery and the origins of symbolism

A new discovery in Blombos Cave in the Western Cape poses fascinating questions about the origins of modern human behaviour.


‘Little Foot’ offers lessons for the modern world

Professor Ron Clarke talked to us about the significance of the most complete Australopithecus skeleton ever found. “Little Foot” was unveiled at Maropeng for an event on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit last week.

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Thinking aloud: could toxic digital addiction destroy your life?

The digital age has many benefits, but have we considered the way increasing amounts of screen time affect our health and wellbeing?

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How a lost African city was recreated with laser technology

Laser technology has been used to ‘redraw’ the remains of a lost city along the Suikerbostrand hills near Johannesburg. This groundbreaking research was done by a team from Wits University. This piece on their findings was published in ‘The Conversation’.


Footprint fossils suggest lizards have been running on two feet for 110m years

Fossil bones and skeletons tend to get most of the attention in palaeontology, but sometimes we can learn more about extinct life from the footprints long-extinct animals left behind. That’s the case in new research that claims to have found 110m-year-old trackways of lizards running on two feet (bipedally).


Let’s talk about colliding stars and the space-time continuum

In the third edition of Maropeng’s “Thinking Aloud” series, we’re exploring one of the most followed astronomical events in the world. Professor Petri Vaisanen, director of the South African Astronomical Observatory, and Jerome Jooste, chairperson of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa in Johannesburg, will shed light on a violent merger of two neutron stars 130-million light years away, and its implications.

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WATCH: Highlights of the thought-provoking second edition of ‘Thinking Aloud’

“Thinking Aloud” is a new lecture series that Maropeng has introduced to shed light on, and promote discussions about, fascinating issues of public interest. In our first edition we delved into climate change, vultures and South Africa’s military history. In the second, we took a closer look at cannabis.

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Cannabis – a gateway to sickness or health?

Have a pressing questions about the value of cannabis to human health? Then don’t miss the second instalment of our ‘Thinking Aloud’ series of public talks.

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How old is Little Foot really?

Little Foot, the almost complete, fossilised skeleton of an early form of the human ancestor Australopithecus, was hailed as one of the most remarkable discoveries ever in the field of palaeoanthropology when it was found deep inside a Sterkfontein cave. Recent scrutiny by experts made Little Foot the oldest known hominid from the Cradle of Humankind.

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10 questions about OSIRIS-REx, the world’s latest asteroid-sampling mission

On 8 September 2016, NASA embarked on its first asteroid-sampling mission, OSIRIS-REx, with a successful launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

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Head or heart, stargazing touches us all

Whether you believe in the power of the stars and planets or are one of those who simply enjoys marvelling at the night sky while pondering the science of it all, the fact is that astronomy has had a very real impact on human minds.

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Stare into the face of the oldest human ancestor

It’s time to meet your potential great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great [this goes on for several thousand lines] grand-relative.

Do you see any resemblance?