For the past five years, I’ve been working in South Africa during the summers. I chose to work here because I want to learn about the first humans and how they lived in a world much different from our own. The earliest humans came from Africa and lived during a time called the Ice Age. The Ice Age was full of giant animals like mammoths, saber-toothed lions and buffalos that weighed as much as cars! These people lived way before there were any big cities or towns, so they often lived in caves, which made great natural houses. We dig in these caves to find all the things they left behind.

One of the things that we find a lot in the caves are fossils, and these are what I study. Fossils are ancient bones that have turned to stone over thousands of years. They help us learn about the creatures that lived in the past, like dinosaurs and the giant ice-age animal. I study fossils to learn about the animals that the earliest humans lived with. Back then, humans were more connected with nature than we are today because they had to find their own food from what was around them in the wild. While I go camping for fun, the earliest humans had no choice but to camp every day! Although they lived very different lives from you and me, the evidence we find in our archaeological digs shows that they were a lot like us too. Like me, they also liked to draw animals, and sometimes we find their drawings on the cave walls! 

I was lucky to receive a U.S. Fulbright Research Grant to live in South Africa for nine months to learn as much as I can about these ancient people and animals. While I am here, I am meeting the local people and experiencing their amazing culture. I’m excited to bring you along with me on this adventure. Let’s start exploring!