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Recovery of most complete skeleton of human ancestor to be streamed live (+video)

The recovery of a nearly two-million-year-old Australopithecus sediba fossil from a cave in South Africa will be broadcast live over the Web, probably beginning in November. 

A team led by Professor Lee Berger, a renowned palaeoanthropologist from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (aka Wits University) have described and named a new species of hominid, Australopithecus sediba, almost two million years old, which was discovered in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, 40 kilometres out of Johannesburg, South Africa.
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Archaeologists will stream live footage online as they recover significant parts of an early human skeleton that's nearly two million years old, the first time the public can participate in the discovery process from their homes, a South African scientist said.

Paleontologist Lee Berger told The Associated Press it was valuable to bring the research to the public.

"It's important for people to understand where they come from," Berger said. "This belongs to the people, this is the story of humanity."

The rock containing the fossil material that will be extracted was found in 2009, but lay in a laboratory at Berger's University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg until earlier in June this year. A CT scan revealed what might be highly intact remains of Karabo, a young specimen of Australopithecus sediba.

The first parts of Karabo were found in 2008 and are in fact one of the most complete early human skeletons ever discovered. Berger came across the find by accident when his then nine-year-old son Matthew discovered the first piece of Karabo's remains. After the bones were discovered, the children of South Africa were invited to name the child, which they called Karabo, meaning "answer" in the local Tswana language.

The CT scan of the rock last month showed critical body parts fossilized in it such as a jaw, a complete thigh bone and ribs among others. A DNA test of the find's outer layer matched that of Karabo, which Berger said might mean they belong to the already highly intact skeleton.


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