Fossils to go to US museum

A replica cast of Australopithecus sediba fossils will be donated to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) said today.

“Australopithecus sediba consist of an adolescent male, dubbed Karabo, and a mature female, found relatively close to one another, and dated to between 1.95 and 1.78 million years ago in the early Pleistocene,” Wits spokesperson Vivienne Rowland said.

“The casts of these skeletons – which include two complete copies for public display as well as two copies for research – represent an unprecedented collegial exchange of information to foster closer research collaborations between the researchers and institutions of the two countries.”

The fossils were discovered by Professor Lee Berger, of the institute for human evolution at the university, in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site outside Johannesburg.

Berger would hand over the casts to the museum’s director, Dr Cristián Samper, on Thursday, Rowland said.

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