Five Mysteries Uncovered By Google Earth

Published December 1, 2011
Updated August 22, 2017

Ancient Human Ancestor, South Africa

Human Ancestor Skull in South Africa

Plucky paleoanthropologist Professor Lee Berger used Google Earth (from the comfort of his armchair) to find bones of an ancient human ancestor in South Africa. After isolating patterns in a region he thought most likely to house human remains, Berger led a small contingent (his dog, son and one student) to the caves and fossil sites.

The hunch paid off: Berger discovered 50 previously unidentified caves and fossil sites, one of which contained perfectly preserved human remains dating back 2 million years.

The compelling part of the discovery is that the fossils were not completely human, but rather a transitional species that could potentially tell us about human evolution.

South Africa Google Map

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John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.