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Homo Naledi expected to boost tourism, global science community skeptical

11 September 2015 7:29 AM

Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, says the new fossil find will open doors for SA tourism, but the species has come under scrutiny.

The internet nearly broke on Thursday, after the announcement of a new fossil find - which was the number one trend on Twitter in the world!

Homo Naledi was unveiled as a brand new species unearthed from the largest deposit of fossils ever found on the African continent.

How Homo naledi is expected to boost tourism in SA

Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom announced that R22 million will be allocated for the renovation of Maropeng, the visitor's centre at the Cradle of Humankind, where the fossils were discovered.

Minister Hanekom spoke to 702 presenter John Robbie to give details about how this announcement will open new doors for tourism in the country.

Its the development of sites like this that will distinguish us from other countries and put us on the map.

Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism

We want to encourage family visits to Maropeng, the picnic site and interactive laboratory, where especially young learners can get involved in the paleontology work done there. We want to also plan on a 500-seater amphitheater in the area. And that's just the beginning.

Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism

Listen to the full conversation from The John Robbie Show:

International science community skeptical of 'new species' claims

As the world unpacks Thursday’s announcement of what has been called a new species of human relative, the claim has been met with scepticism by some members of the international science community.

While Professor Christoph Zollikofer, an anthropologist with the University of Zurich Switzerland, agrees that this is a great discovery, he questions the conclusions being drawn at such an early stage of the find.

Zollikofer does not believe that Homo naledi should be dubbed as a new species, and says that such assertions only create media attention.

It is an exceptional find, but as a scientist I am skeptical about various points - especially the idea of a new species. There are many understandings of the term species, and Homo naledi has very few characteristics to separate it from existing one's.

Professor Christoph Zollikofer, anthropologist at the University of Zurich Switzerland

Listen to the full conversation from CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:

11 September 2015 7:29 AM

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