Fossil named Karabo

01 June 2010 - 09:37
By Sapa

Australopithecus sediba, the skeleton discovered by Wits Professor Lee Berger's son has been given the short name Karabo.

Karabo, which means answer in Setswana is the name that 17-year-old Omphemetse Keepile, a student from St. Mary's School in Johannesburg, gave to the hominids skeleton Australopithecus sediba.

Keepile's winning entry was selected from more than 15 000 submissions in a naming competition sponsored by Standard Bank and Palaeontological Scientific (PAST) in association with Wits University and the Department of Science and Technology.

The competitions judges included Wits palaeoanthropologist Professor Lee Berger, his son Matthew (who discovered the first fossil), radio DJ and TV personality Gareth Cliff, and representatives from Standard Bank, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST)

Karabo is a 1.95 million-year-old partial hominid skeleton, who would have been between nine and 13 years old when he died. The fossil was discovered by Matthew Berger in the Cradle of Humankind.

A second partial skeleton of an adult female was also found. The Sediba fossils are arguably the most complete remains of any hominids found dating to around two million years ago, and are possibly one of the most significant palaeoanthropological discoveries in recent time.

Berger's son Matthew, who discovered the initial skeleton, said "I think that Karabo is a wonderful name because it means 'the answer'. I think that the little Sediba child will hold so many clues to the muddle in the middle about where we come from as a genus and a species."

Berger said that "with more than 15,000 entries and literally thousands of stories, poems and motivations for a popular name for the child, it gave me a real sense of how the people of South Africa, and particularly its children, had embraced this wonderful find."