Scientists reveal the development of a world first open access laboratory.

It is just your normal CT scanner sitting in a hospital but it has allowed scientists to peer into a big lump of rock and discover some of the rarest fossils in the world.

The x-ray that shows a probable-hominin-fibula, circled.

Tonight in Shanghai China a group of South African scientists announced the discovery of fossils, believed to belong to

Australopithecus sediba, buried in a one metre in diameter block of rock.

The announcement also detailed what is to be another first, the development of a laboratory studio, that will allow the public to watch scientists and preparators work on extracting the fossils from the rock.

Justin Mukanku from the Wits Institute of Human Evolution with the rock

This is an initiative that involves the South African government, the University of Witwatersrand and the National Geographic Society.

The laboratory, which will be built at Maropeng at the Cradle of Humankind, is to be setup with cameras and will be streamed live on the Internet.

Discoveries, said Professor Lee Berger of the Wits Institute for Human Evolution in his speech last night, will be made in real time.

The fossils were located through the use of x-rays, the first time such a method, has been used.

It was Berger’s wife Jackie Smilg, a  radiologist at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg who made the discovery.

The two Sediba skeletons

Using one of the hospitals state-of-the-art CAT scanners she was able to identify bone in the rock.

The rock was picked up at the Malapa site, where the two sediba skeletons were discovered in 2009.

Berger believes that the bones belong to the partial skeleton of the juvenile, that was given the name Karabo.

He has been able to identify jaw, the femur, ribs, vertebrae and sections of leg.

Once escavated, he believes this will make Karabo the most complete hominin skeleton in the world.

To learn more read the article that will be appearing in The Star newspaper tomorrow.

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About Shaun Smillie

Journalist, with a love of bones, fossils and other things dug up. Fisherman and occasional beer maker.
This entry was posted in human evolution, palaeontology, science, Sediba and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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