The Origins Centre in Johannesburg explores mankind's evolutionary journey and emergence in southern Africa, exploring the discovery of our ape-like ancestors in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site and the first rock art paintings of the San people. The museum employs cutting edge technology and artistic genius, telling the story of who we are today by showing who we were yesterday.

Did you know?

The scientific name for the human species is Homo sapiens. Modern humans are the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens. The Latin name of the species translates to 'wise man'.

The world-class Origins Centre, located at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, explores the evolution of human life and our journey towards modern man.

Under the motto 'We are who we are because of who we were', the Origins Centre uses cutting-edge technology combined with works by South Africa's foremost artists to depict the evolution of humans alongside the development of their creative abilities.

Conceptualised by a team of academics and designers from Wits University, the museum aims to provide visitors with a unique experience of Africa’s rich, complex heritage.

This first phase of the permanent exhibition concentrates on the hunter-gatherer San Bushmen, whose DNA is linked to the earliest Homo sapiens.

The Centre's extensive collection of rock art affords visitors the opportunity to view the earliest images made by humans, found in South Africa. There are exhibits of their early technology together with interactive displays describing the beginnings of culture through rock art, spirituality and dance.

The second phase of the permanent exhibition is a vast array of palaeoanthropological, archaeological and genetic materials charting the evolution of humankind. These include ancient tools, artefacts of spiritual significance to early humans and fossilised remains of some of man's early ancestors.

The average museum experience takes between 90 minutes and two hours, but for the enthusiast, there is an unsurpassed wealth of additional multi-media material detailing Africa’s past.

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