Google Earth Aids Fossil Discovery
Scientists at South Africa's "Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site" have just announced a new hominid fossil discovery.
This dicovery could be one of the most important palaeoanthropological discoveries in recent times. The pair of skeletons date to between 1.78 and 1.95 million years old. Google Earth had a part in the discovery.
The story begins in March 2008, when Professor Lee Berger from Witswatersrand University in Johannesburg began using Google Earth to map the locations of caves and fossil deposits to share with other scientists.
He also used Google Earth to help him distinguish what caves that held fossils looked like from satellite images, this allowed him to locate new fossil deposits.
When the project began there were just 130 known cave sites and just 20 fossil deposits. Even though, this site is one of the most heavily explored sites in Africa, by using Google Earth's satellite imagery, Professor Berger has gone on to discover almost 500 previously unidentified caves and fossil sites.
One of the fossil sites yielded a new species of an upright walker known as, Australopithecus sediba, its inclusion into the fossil record may help us to answer some questions about our early ancestry in Africa. Click here for the full story.