Entrance to Maropeng, with visitor exhibition and recreational facilities at site. The seven 14m high concrete columns, signifying the centre, which moves in and out of sight along its approach. The concrete fingers have words on them that hint at the major themes of the exhibition, such as “Imagine”, “Explore”, “Contemplate”, and “Discover”.
Discover board with an overview about the Cradle of Humankind facilities.
Walk to the Tumulus Building with small exhibitions on both sides.
"Prs. Les" is the best example of an adult Australopithecus africanus ever discovered. The skull was found by Dr. Robert Broom and his assistant John Robinson at Sterkfontain in 1947.
Start of the humankind’s history and development, over more than 3-million years.
Underground boat ride. The boat adventure starts at the present and continues on a trip back through time, retracing the various stages of the creation of our earth.
Start of the underground exhibition in Maropeng. The exhibition is self guided and can take anything from one to seven hours, depending on your level of interest and time availability.
Lucy is the partial skeleton of a 3.2-million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis from East Africa.It is arguably the most well-known hominid skeleton in the world. Dr Donald Johanson and his team discovered the skeleton in Hadar, Ethiopia, in 1974.
Skull of Australopithecus africanus ("southern ape of Africa").
Bipedalism (the ability to walk on two legs)
About 7-million years ago, early hominids began to adapt to a climate that was cooling globally. Before this, Africa had been mostly covered in rainforest. But as the temperature cooled and dried, savannah replaced the forest. This meant tree-climbing apes had to become more adept at walking on land.
Development of the jaw and diet
Our ancestors’ diet changed over time. From eating mostly plants, they began to eat a mixture of meat and protein, along with plant matter. This helped their brains to develop, and in turn altered the shapes of their jaws. Over time, their jaws became less heavy or “robust” and more slender or “gracile”.
The Water of Life. The story about global consumption and shortages.
A "virtual laboratory studio" from the research program, at the Malapa Site in the Cradle of Humankind, for the new species of hominin - Australopithecus sediba, named by Berger's team in 2010.
The Tumulus Building is evocative of a giant burial mound or perhaps an enormous buried fossil, with concrete “bones” sticking out the top. There is a learner centre and a hotel inside the development, which are mostly hidden in the rolling hills.