Exploring Our Origins at the Perot Museum

Discover two ancient relatives in an exclusive interactive exhibit.

Posted on Oct 29, 2019 By David C Justin

What does it mean to be human? Where did we come from? And what did our ancient relatives look like?

These are a few of the questions to explore at the new Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind exhibit at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Open now through March 22, 2020, Origins allows you to get up close with the fossilized remains of two ancient human relatives, Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi.

On loan from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) in Johannesburg, South Africa, the two specimens, nicknamed Karabo and Neo, have arrived in Dallas for their first - and likely only - trip outside of South Africa to help us understand the complex and nuanced processes of human evolution.

Skull of Karabo, A. sebida

Discovered in 2008 by nine-year-old Matthew Berger, the fossil of Karabo (A. sediba), was discovered in the Malapa Fossil Site in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, just northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa. Dated at two million years old, Karabo was a young teenage male at his time of death and discovered with five members of his species.

The fossil of Neo (H. naledi), which was dated to approximately 250,000 years old, was found deep in the Rising Star cave system in the Cradle of Humankind. To unearth the remains and those of more than 20 other members of his species, a team of 'underground astronauts' was assembled to excavate the site. Due to the physical restrictions and challenges of navigating the cave system - including a 7-inch crevice that had to be squeezed through - the team members had to be very slender and highly qualified cave explorers.

Hand of Homo naledi - Credit Peter Schmid Wits University

In addition to coming face-to-face with these ancient cousins, visitors to Origins at the Perot Museum can explore the science of human origins through a number of interactive exhibits, including a simulated excavation site that gives amateur paleoanthropologists of all ages the opportunity to excavate and identify their own ancient fossils.

General admission to the Perot Museum is $20 for adults, $13 for children 12 and under and $18 for seniors. Origins is an additional charge of $10 for adults and seniors and $8 for children. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information go to https://www.perotmuseum.org/exhibits-and-films/traveling-exhibition/origins.html.

 

Header photo: H. naledi - credit Kaitlyn Kilpatrick, Perot Museum

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