Gondwana Fossil Display
Did you know?
Gondwana was named after India's Gondwana region - the place where some of the super-continent's first fossils were found.
The Gondwana Fossil Display is a fascinating exhibit of fossils that talk to the early history of the Earth. Scientists theorise that around 250 million years ago, all the continents we know today were once connected in a giant land mass called Pangaea.
Around 50 million years later, the mass broke into two so-called super-continents - Gondwana and Laurasia. Africa was a core part of this mass, and was then joined to what is today South America, Australia, Antarctica, New Zealand, Madagascar and India.
It's believed the ancestors of modern reptiles, birds and marsupials roamed the land at that time. Many fossils of these animals have been discovered in various parts of the region, pointing conclusively not only to their existence in those early times, but also to that of the once giant super-continent.
It's this secret past that the Gondwana fossils at Maropeng uncover, providing an extraordinary glimpse into pre-historic life, long before man was able to capture images of the world around him. The display features a collection of priceless Gondwana fossils discovered in Africa, South America and the Indian subcontinent.
Among the exhibits are a skull of a Cynognathus, a ‘mammal-like' reptile likened to the present day wolf, and Lystrosaurus, a type of lizard.
The Gondwana Fossil Display is on show from 9 June until 31 July 2010, to coincide with the 2010 FIFA World CupTM. Coincidentally, you can also explore man's ancient past during this time with the first public viewing of the female Australopithecus sediba hominid fossil, which was found in the Cradle of Humankind area in 2008.
The female is believed to possibly be the mother of the first sediba fossil found here, that of a young boy who has since been nicknamed Karabo.
The Gondwana Fossil Display, together with the new sediba fossils, makes for an enthralling visit to Maropeng, and the opportunity to truly explore our ancient history like never before.