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Lind­say Mar­shall chats to WITS stu­dents about the exhibition.

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.

The theme for this year’s show was Fit­ness, which in evo­lu­tion­ary the­o­ry is the capa­bil­i­ty of an indi­vid­ual of a cer­tain geno­type to repro­duce and then pass these genes to the next gen­er­a­tion. If dif­fer­ences in indi­vid­ual geno­types affect fit­ness, then the fre­quen­cy of the geno­type will change over gen­er­a­tions – the geno­types with high­er fit­ness become more com­mon. This process is called nat­ur­al selection.

The theme of this year’s show fit­ted in per­fect­ly with Maropeng’s lat­est Orig­i­nal Fos­sil Dis­play enti­tled Evo­lu­tion: dig­ging for an under­stand­ing. Dar­win and human evo­lu­tion are cen­tral themes in our exhi­bi­tion,” says Marshall. 

And so when Mar­shall approached Car­o­line Crump, cura­tor of the Life Sci­ence Muse­um, for exhi­bi­tion mate­r­i­al for the dis­play, they agreed that Maropeng should exhib­it at Yebo Gogga.

The Maropeng stand at the show was enti­tled Dar­win, Mrs Ples and the Cra­dle of Humankind – dis­cov­er it all at Maropeng.

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Magel van de Ven­ter explains what Maropeng is all about to a vis­i­tor to the stand.

The main focus of the stand was to edu­cate the audi­ence on Darwin’s study of com­par­a­tive anato­my and the sim­i­lar­i­ty between chim­panzees, goril­las and mod­ern humans. The stand also looked at Darwin’s pro­pos­al that we share a com­mon ances­tor. Recent news has sug­gest­ed that we do have a com­mon ances­tor in the form of Ardip­ithe­cus ramidus.

The stand also explained the impor­tance of the dis­cov­ery of Mrs Ples, why the Cra­dle of Humankind is such an impor­tant World Her­itage Site and of course what Maropeng, the Offi­cial Vis­i­tor Cen­tre of the Cra­dle of Humankind, actu­al­ly does.

I real­ly enjoyed engag­ing with the school­child­ren as well as many of the Wits stu­dents. For me, being asso­ci­at­ed with such a long-stand­ing Wits event was extreme­ly impor­tant, and goes a long way to build­ing our rela­tion­ship with my alma mater,” said Marshall.