Posted on March 29, 2023
The 2023 GGY 789 field trip, led by Prof. Natalie Haussmann and Prof. Greg Breetzke, took place
from 24 to 27 March at Florisbad, in the Free State. Fifteen of the BSc Geography Honours students
attended. Throughout the few days spent at the research station the students enjoyed talks and
presentations on many topics including learning about the history of the Florisbad Quaternary
Research Station and the many fossils that had been found on site, including the famous 260 ka
Florisbad skull. The students were able to see what they had learned first-hand by being shown the
fossil collection by Dr. Lloyd Rossouw, the resident archaeologist at the research station and the
various pit sites where fossils have been discovered. The students also practised drawing the
stratigraphy via one of the open excavation pits.
In the morning of 25 March, Dr Nico Avenant presented a talk on the sampling of small mammals,
after which the students entered the fields surrounding the research station and set non-lethal box
mouse traps. Traps were checked in the evenings and mornings by the students, accompanied by Dr
Avenant. When mice were found in the traps the sex and species were identified, as well as whether
the mouse was pregnant or not.
It was all round a very enjoyable experience that provided the students with a lifetime of memories as
well as new knowledge on small mammal sampling and fossils.
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