THE ORIGINS centre will be hosting Sterkfontein’s 80th birthday celebration on Heritage Day, September 24. The centre will also have its second DNA Ancestry Testing Experience this weekend.

The 80th birthday event will celebrate the discoveries made at Sterkfontein, as they have “inspired a rich legacy of scientific and cultural enquiry and enlightenment.”

Sterkfontein is a South African national heritage site and World Heritage site. Fossils discoveries will be on exhibition, including the first ever adult Australopithecus found and the original fossils of Mrs Ples, which is one of the most perfect pre-human fossils to have been discovered. Wits professors will be in attendance to give talks and tours and the centre is also planning to open their new wing on the day. Tickets are R20.

The two hour DNA Ancestry Tour includes a museum visit and presentations by Dr Ian Mckay on evolution and genetic ancestry testing by Ms Rajeshree Mahabeer of the National Health Laboratory Service. A museum tour of the origins of man is included in the R250 entrance fee. People will also be able to test their DNA to track their lineage by providing a cheek swab sample.

The test will cost females R800 and males R1200. The test results come in the form of a report after 12 weeks, once the DNA sample is compared to two international databases of mtDNA sequences, indicating the most likely region where your mtDNA profile originated. The limitations of this test is that it can only go as far back as great great-grandparents. This Ancestry Experience is taking place on September 17 and November 12.