Prestigious Palaeosciences Honours Bursary

The Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST) in collaboration with the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences (CoE-Pal) is offering a Prestigious Palaeosciences Honours Bursary to an exceptional graduate. Candidates should demonstrate that they will be pursuing their Honours Degree with a supervisor who has a proven track record of excellent supervision.

With teeth like that, this pre-dinosaur vegetarian was no push over…

Head-butting and canine display during male-male combat first appeared some 270 million years ago Discovered four years ago, and following an updated and more in-depth study of the herbivorous mammalian ancestor, Tiarajudens eccentricus, researchers from Brazil and South Africa can now present a meticulous description of the skull, skeleton and dental replacement of this Brazilian … Continued

Karoo reveals mass extinction

The rocks of the Karoo have shed light on the timing, some 260 million years ago, when almost all of Earth’s species – land and sea – died in a mass extinction event. It also led to the disappearance of a diverse group of early mammal-like reptiles called dinocephalians, which were the largest land-living animals … Continued

The fossils of Nieu-Bethesda – Visit South Africa’s own Permian Park…

Situated in the heart of the Karoo, in the picturesque town of Nieu-Bethedsa, and home of the famous Owl House, the Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre tells the story of life in South Africa 253 million years ago during the Permian Period. This was a time 50 million years before the first dinosaurs when the continents … Continued

Dinosaur eggs get ready to hatch their secrets – 200 million years later

In the late winter of 1976, the world famous fossil collector James Kitching was doing a survey near South Africa’s border with Lesotho. To his surprise he found a tiny clutch of six fossilised eggs along the side of the road at a place known as Rooidraai. It took five years for skilled palaentologists to … Continued

Species without boundaries: a new way to map our origins

The challenge we face after a century of extraordinary discoveries is pinning down the lineage and mapping the evolutionary route through which we as human beings got here. Read the full article at The Conversation: Species without boundaries: a new way to map our origins

Why South Africa’s Karoo is a palaeontological wonderland

The Karoo provides not only a historical record of biological change over a period of Earth’s history but also a means to test theories of evolutionary processes over long periods of time. South Africa’s Karoo region has been in the headlines in recent years because of the prospect of a controversial fracking programme to exploit … Continued

‘Little Foot’ fossils found to be older than ‘Lucy’

A study by researchers from South Africa, the US, Canada and France has found that the famous Australopithecus fossil skeleton known as ‘Little Foot’ is around 1.47 million years older than was initially estimated and might therefore potentially represent a direct human ancestor. The finding, made possible by using an advanced dating method called isochron … Continued

Taung – Back to the drawing board?

The Taung Child, South Africa’s premier hominin discovered 90 years ago by Wits University Professor Raymond Dart, never seizes to transform and evolve the search for our collective origins. By subjecting the skull of the first australopith discovered to the latest technologies in the Wits University Microfocus X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) facility, researchers are now … Continued

Milestone for young dinosaur hunter

Barely two years after joining Wits University, Massachusetts native and dinosaur expert, Dr Jonah Choiniere, has become only the second palaeontologist to be awarded a P-rating by the National Research Foundation (NRF). He will be officially receiving his P-rating tonight (11 September 2014) at the 2014 NRF Awards Ceremony to be held in Johannesburg. The … Continued