Traveling Bones

Exclusive new exhibit at Texas museum displays some very old skulls

Exclusive new exhibit at Texas museum displays some very old skulls

Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind
Skulls of ancient human relatives will be on display at the Perot Museum this fall. Photo by Brett Eloff/Wits University

A new exhibition heading to Dallas' The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is about to get down with some very old skulls.

Called "Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind," it will feature fossils that are considered to be one of the greatest fossil discoveries of the past half century.

This exclusive exhibition comes from South Africa and may possibly be the only appearance in the United States. It'll be on view for five months, starting October 19, 2019 and ending on March 22, 2020.

The exhibition is done in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) in South Africa and the National Geographic Society. It features two skulls — Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi — both discovered in the last 11 years.

It marks the first time that ancient hominin fossils have traveled for public display since "Lucy" (Australopithecus afarensis), the famous fossil that toured the United States for six years, from 2007 to 2013.

Perot Museum CEO Linda Silver says in a statement that this new exhibit provides an "extraordinary and historic opportunity" to come face-to-face with these two newly discovered species of our ancient human relatives.

"The fossils featured in 'Origins' have never been displayed outside South Africa — and probably never will be again," Silver says.

The Australopithecus sediba fossils were discovered in 2008 by a nine-year-old named Matthew Berger, and were a find because of how complete their condition was.

The Homo naledi fossils were discovered in 2013 in South Africa by a Wits University team that included the Perot Museum's Becca Peixotto, director and research scientist of the Center for the Exploration of the Human Journey.

The exhibition ties in to the Perot Museum’s recently launched Center for the Exploration of the Human Journey, a global hub for education, communication and research in the study of human origins. The exhibition will also showcase the collaboration and dedication demonstrated by a diverse, multinational scientific team of women and men.

The on-sale date for tickets for the special exhibition has not yet been determined; go to perotmuseum.org for more information.

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