Rising Star Expedition

Last month some spelunkers in South Africa discovered a deep-cave hominin fossil deposit that is now being excavated by Lee Berger’s team. This is a major field expedition that is well-financed and digitally wired. The whole thing is being live-blogged, broadcast, and tweeted by National Geographic and various team members, including John Hawks.

As I write this, over 200 fossils of an unknown hominin species have been recovered and a cranium has just been brought to the surface. This should allow for a species identification within the next few hours. An archaeologist-excavator describes the site as a “heap of hominins.” I’m guessing they have found Australopithecus africanus, A. sediba, or P. robustus. It could also be early Homo or a new hominin species.

Here is a video showing the first fossils coming out, along with a partial mandible of uncertain affinity:

This is exciting and unprecedented stuff unfolding in real time. I encourage everyone to follow the action taking place in the Cradle of Humankind at these links:

National Geographic Rising Star Expedition

Twitter #risingstarexpedition

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