Take a virtual trip to see bones that are shaking up our family tree.
Experience the South African cave where a team led by internationally acclaimed paleoanthropologist Prof Lee Berger discovered Homo naledi, a new species of ancient human relative. DinalediVR brings the Virtual Reality Dinaledi Experience beyond the walls of the Perot Museum and features six scientists describing the cave in their native languages. Developed by the Perot Museum in collaboration with Groove Jones and the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), the Virtual Reality Dinaledi Experience is a key exhibit within the Museum's Being Human Hall which invites guests to explore content focused on research and discovers spanning from the days of early ancestry, to modern-day characteristics, to the scientific breakthroughs of local Nobel Prize Laureates. Learn about human history through the fossils our predecessors left behind.
The discovery – named Homo naledi – was new to science. The species has some physical characteristics that are very human-like and others that resemble our more ancient ancestors. Fossils from the find date between 336,000 and 230,000 years old. The newly named Homo naledi was unearthed through the collaboration of nearly 150 scientists from all over the world led by paleoanthropologist Dr. Lee Berger. The fossils the team discovered were unlike any others that had been discovered before.
Scientists went on an incredible expedition deep into the cave system to recover more than 1,500 fossil bones belonging to at least 15 individuals - exceeding any other human ancestor site in Africa. Berger himself never took a trip into the cave. This discovery that dominated world headlines in science was excavated by a team of six "underground astronauts," paleoanthropologists and archaeologists who were able and willing to pass through an 18cm gap to get to the dig site. The fearless team have shed light on the origins and diversity of the human genus as well as the way early human and hominin evolution is understood. The journey continues as teams are still excavating and exploring underground while colleagues are busy analyzing the fossils in the lab.
More information about the cave exploration experience can be found at perotmuseum.org/DinalediVR. The Center for the Exploration of the Human Journey created this proof-of-concept VR experience in the Dinaledi Chamber to inspire diverse publics to engage with science, exploration, and discovery.