Skeletons were in the closet. Now they’re in the suitcase

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Skeletons were in the closet. Now they’re in the suitcase

Precious hominid remains are flown to the US for their first exhibition outside SA

Journalist

It might sound like a Scandinavian crime thriller: human remains, securely packed in some hardtop suitcases, are carefully carried onto an aeroplane bound for a country thousands of miles away. The carriers of the cases look around nervously: what if something goes wrong? What if the forensic evidence ends up in the wrong hands?

In reality, the remains are not quite human (they belong to our ancient ancestors), the suitcases are specially designed to carry ancient fossils, those carrying the cases are scientists and not criminals, and the evidence is palaeontological – shedding light on our own ancestry rather than some dastardly crime.

Since their safe arrival last month, South African fossils Homo naledi and Australopithecus sediba have for the first time gone on display for international audiences, and are now exhibited at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, until March 22 next year...

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