Cape Town - The story of human evolution has long been told with fossils from South Africa – discovered by a privileged few. The Human Evolution Research Institute (HERI) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) aims to change that with a new generation of female scientists.
“We have an incredible record of human evolution in South Africa, but the entire narrative of palaeoanthropology has been dominated by white men, many of whom are not even South African,” says HERI’s Director Dr Robyn Pickering.
“We want to disrupt this narrative by supporting South African researchers from all backgrounds and telling our origin story with a diverse and inclusive team.”
HERI aims to do this with projects that break down barriers faced by young researchers. Among these are annual field camps that give women confidence in the remote sites their research will take them.
“Fieldwork is a big aspect of palaeoanthropology, but many of these women don’t know what to expect because they’re not exposed to hiking and camping in their upbringing,” says Pickering.