Maropeng has teamed up with a dynamic and upcoming young scientist, Brendon Billings, and is launching a series of new themed walking tours. The first tour entitled Back To Basics will highlight ‘clues’ offered by the fossil records and the fascinating ‘detective work’ that is required to reconstruct the history of our species.
Using a fun hands-on approach, Billings will introduce visitors to the hominoid skeletal anatomy and the comparative techniques used to identify fossil remains. Through detailed exhibition style casts, participants will be prompted to use their observation powers to help identify a fossil species and any other relevant information which could be gleamed from their remains. “Billings is a dynamic, up and coming young scientist who truly epitomises the new age of scientists,” says Maropeng curator Lindsay Marshall. “The wealth of knowledge he brings to our tours makes them a unique experience for those interested in the fascinating evolution of animal species and humankind. He represents the new face of science and brings a refreshing new perspective and energy to the field.”
The talk is followed by a walk through the Sterkfontein Cave site by award-winning tour guide Reuben Tsime who has also completed extensive training and been accredited by the Gauteng Tourism Authority. Reuben, who also volunteers some of his time to teach evolution to Life Sciences classes in Krugersdorp, says that he is passionate about his job. One of his life dreams is to own a tourism-focused company of his own one day. “I thought I was going to be the next Tokyo (Sexwale, the politician turned businessman), but this is my field now. We take people back in time, and teach them to hold on to their heritage.”
The morning tour finishes with a picnic-style lunch overlooking the breathtaking Cradle of Humankind. The tour is ideally suited for those who want to delve deeper into the secrets of science: “This tour is really for the individual who’s quite keen to know about the science behind palaeoanthropology. You’ll get an idea as to how they develop their evolutionary conclusions from the study of bones.”
The tours are geared towards adults and will be held monthly with the first one kicking off on 13 August at 09h30Am. “Letting the ancestors speak” / “Reading the bones of our ancestors: From CSI to Sterkfontein” on 13 August & 17 September 2011. “Transformations in body and mind: from goo goo to Google” on 8 October 2011. “Walking in the footsteps of legends: a historical walk through the hominid cave sites and the uncovering of fossil remains in the early part of the last century” on 12 November 2011. Contact Road Travel to arrange your walking tour in Maropeng, Gauteng, South Africa.