A passion for Paleo

2018-09-11 06:01
Zaituna Skosan, assistant collections manager of Karoo Paleontology at the Iziko Museums of South Africa. PHOTO: Llelani Coetzer

Zaituna Skosan, assistant collections manager of Karoo Paleontology at the Iziko Museums of South Africa. PHOTO: Llelani Coetzer

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The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed. As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened. A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her. Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa. In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration.

People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

Iziko’s exhibitions, programmes and events are aligned to and support the national theme: “The Year of Nelson Mandela: Advancing Transformation of South Africa’s Heritage Landscape.”

The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed­.

As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened.

A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her.

Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa.

In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration.

People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

Iziko’s exhibitions, programmes and events are aligned to and support the national theme: “The Year of Nelson Mandela: Advancing Transformation of South Africa’s Heritage Landscape.”

The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed. As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened. A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her. Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa. In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration.

People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

Iziko’s exhibitions, programmes and events are aligned to and support the national theme: “The Year of Nelson Mandela: Advancing Transformation of South Africa’s Heritage Landscape.”

The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed. As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened. A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her. Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa. In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration. People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed. As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened. A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her. Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa. In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration. People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed. As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened. A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her. Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa. In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration. People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed. As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened. A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her. Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa. In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration. People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed. As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened. A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her. Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa. In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration. People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed. As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened. A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her. Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa. In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration. People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed. As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened. A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her. Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa. In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration.

People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

Iziko’s exhibitions, programmes and events are aligned to and support the national theme: “The Year of Nelson Mandela: Advancing Transformation of South Africa’s Heritage Landscape.”

The Iziko South African Museum (ISAM) houses more than one-and-a-half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700 million years old to insects and fish caught last week.

Visitors to the museum have explored its halls and corridors, been inspired by its collections and exhibitions, and left with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

Zaituna Skosan, paleontology assistant collections manager, is an integral member of the Iziko staff, working behind the scenes, in the field and with visitors, keeping the collections safe and preparing the fossils on which researchers base their work.

This mother of two found her passion accidentally. Having enrolled and been accepted at nursing college, Skosan decided not to study nursing. Her first job was as a receptionist. After giving birth to her first son, she found herself at a bit of a loose end job-wise and applied at Iziko Museums on the advice of a friend. Little did she know that years later she would be keenly involved in the story of fossils, their preparation and collection.

Not everything dies and becomes a fossil. The way you die and the environment in which you die must provide the right conditions for fossilisation. Each fossil tells the story of life; deepens our knowledge of that story, and assists our understanding of the evolution of our planet and ourselves.

Skosan describes her first encounter with the practice of fossil preparation: “I saw this woman preparing a fossil and I wondered what she was doing.”

Her curiosity was piqued and a while later when vacancies for fossil preparators opened up, she applied and was appointed. As time progressed, her passion for the process of fossil preparation and gathering deepened. A few months after she began her journey in the Paleontology Department, she embarked with the team on a field trip to collect fossils. It was on this field trip that she discovered her first specimen and things fell into place for her. Many of the specimens she has worked with are 250 million years old.

Over 15 years, and 330 specimens later, Skosan’s passion, curiosity and awe of the millions of stories that lie embedded in the layers of our earth have not waned one iota. She has a sense of being part of the greater narrative of creation and life: a revelation she was in awe of after she had completed the preparation of her first skull.

“All of this history around us feels like being covered with a blanket – comforting,” she says.

For the last few months she has been busy with auditing the Iziko collection and preparing for the move of the collection into the new collections facilities that form part of the big building project currently underway at Iziko Museums of South Africa. In between organising the Karoo Palaeo educational activities offered on Heritage Day, she unwinds with a little bit of fossil preparation, and is preparing two Cynodont skulls at the moment.

“To me heritage is the core values (such as mutual respect, discipline, responsibility, always giving 110% in any task, standing up for myself and my beliefs), culture and traditions that I have been raised with. These values have helped shape my growth with understanding the importance of having to take care of heritage objects such as Karoo fossils.”

Iziko Museums of South Africa will commemorate Heritage Month, hosting the exciting week-long In_herit Festival, a cultural programme that kicks off with a Heritage Day celebration. People’s Post is the media partner of the In_herit Festival.

The organisation offers free entry to selected Iziko Museums during Heritage Week, Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia are free only on Heritage Day. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are half-price on Heritage Day.

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