Mrs Ples and Me

08.06.2017 | Are you aware that there is an unbroken line of life that has been passed on from the very first beginning in the primordial soup of this planet to you – your body, heart, mind as you are reading this blog post on an electronical device right now?

Time and again I feel fascinated and touched by this simple fact as it connects me to the bigger picture of humanity on Earth. The UNESCO World Heritage Site „Cradle of Humankind“ which I visited yesterday spans this large arc of time connecting us to our origins in Africa and our early ancestors.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of the Maropeng visitor centre where an interactive exhibition shows the different stages of life’s and human’s evolution on Earth.

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Entrance hall of Maropeng Visitor Centre

The „Cradle of Humankind“ also comprises several caves where scientists have discovered hominid and animal fossils dating back more than four million years. One of them is the Sterkfontein Cave where I did a guided tour. In order not to hurt our heads we had to wear these outstandingly beautiful helmets.

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Birgit’s skull with orange helmet

The most important and most famous of the fossils found in that cave are “Mrs Ples”, a more than two-million-year-old Australopithecus skull, and “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton that is more than three million years old.

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The fossil skull of Mrs Ples

Mrs Ples was found in 1947 by Dr. Robert Broom. After the tour, we were offered to rub his bronze statue’s nose for luck or his left fingers for wisdom. Can you imagine where I have touched it?

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Bronze statue: Dr. Robert Broom holding the skull of Mrs Ples