Professor Lee Berger's fossil discoveries of Australopithecus sediba, which have captured the imagination of the world, will be in Cape Town from tomorrow as part of a host of activities organised by the Department of Science and Technology.
The department has organised a series of events aimed at promoting and enhancing public understanding of the palaeosciences (the study of human origins) at the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town.
The activities will run from tomorrow, 21 April, to Saturday, 24 April 2010, starting with a breakfast session on Wednesday at the Iziko SA Museum, at which Prof Berger will talk to the Cape media, members of Parliament and selected guests about his discovery of the Australopithecus sediba fossil.
This Palaeoscience Focus Week is aimed at stimulating interest in South Africa's heritage by creating a platform for various sectors of the public to engage in debate about the palaeosciences.
An exciting fossil collection will be on display at the museum for the duration of the focus week. It will include the recently unveiled Sediba fossils, dinosaur egg and claw fossils, fossilised bear and pig skulls, and the fossil of the huge-horned bovine Pelorovis (the first mammalian fossil from South Africa to be described).
Other activities include a media round table with an impressive line-up of palaeoscientists, and an evening lecture on dinosaurs by Prof Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan (University of Cape Town) and Dr Adam Yates (University of the Witwatersrand).
An educational programme focusing specifically on the palaeosciences has been put together for learners in grades 9 to 12, and during the focus week about 120 learners a day will visit the Iziko SA Museum.
Saturday, 24 April 2010, will be an open day for fossil viewing at the museum, and the first 3 000 guests will be allowed in free of charge.
The DST supports the palaeosciences through the African Origins Programme, which was initiated to develop the field and provide scientists with the required tools to become leaders in their field by means of research grants, outreach and awareness programmes, and student support initiatives, among other things.