On December 6, Little Foot, the most complete, and possibly oldest, skeleton of a human ancestor ever found, made its debut at the Hominin Vault at University of Witwatersrand's Evolutionary Studies Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. The ancient fossil’s public unveiling ends a painstaking journey of discovery and assembling that began in 1994, when paleoanthropologist Ron Clarke stumbled upon fragments of four left foot bones while rummaging through a museum box.
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Like the rest of their species, the Southern Hemisphere humpbacks, or Megaptera novaeangliae, are not social animals. The baleen whales typically prefer to remain solo or amalgamate in small groups which disperse quickly. However, since 2011, researchers from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town have been observing a new phenomenon off the coast of South Africa — large swarms of whales, comprising anywhere from 20 to 200 individuals. Professor Ken Findlay and his team reported seeing 22 instances of the large groups on three different occasions in 2011, 2014, and 2015.
Years of low rainfall and poor agricultural practices, such as livestock overgrazing, have transformed the Sahel region of Africa into a semi-arid desert. The lack of fertile soil along the almost 8,000-kilometer stretch extending east-west across the breadth of the continent from Senegal on the Atlantic coast to Eritrea on the Red Sea coast, is making it increasingly hard for the residents, who depend on farming, to survive.
Ebola has been on the public health radar for quite some time. However, the most recent epidemic, the deadliest since the disease was identified in 1976, has brought the aggressively contagious viral illness to the forefront. Researchers from all over the world have been frantically trying to find a cure. Now there appears to be a breakthrough in the form of a safe vaccine that in initial trials has proven to be extremely effective in eliminating the risk of contracting the dreaded disease.
Researchers have long suspected that hippos evolved from a family of plant-eating, semi-aquatic mammals called anthracotheres. The ancient animals that roamed freely all the way from North America to Asia inhabited Earth about 40 million years ago. However, scientists could never verify the theory since the only fossils of ancient hippos discovered thus far, dated back just 15 million years. Now thanks to Fabrice Lihoreau, there is finally some proof.
Most homeless resort to panhandling to make ends meet. However an enterprising young South African man has come up with an interesting alternative - he spends his days spreading the joy of reading and selling books written by his favorite authors. Meet Philani Dladla aka 'Pavement Bookworm'.
On Thursday, December 5th, 2013, the world suffered the loss of one of the most extraordinary and incredible humans to have ever lived on this planet - Nelson Mandela. The 95-year-old former South African President and anti-apartheid leader who died at his Johannesburg home, had been suffering from a recurring lung infection for many years.
While fresh water reserves are declining in many parts of the world, nowhere is the situation as dire as the continent of Africa where, over 300 million people have no access to safe drinking water and only 5% of the arable land is being irrigated.