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BABAO Statement on the sending of hominin fossils to space

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It is paramount that the treatment of human remains whether they be ancient or modern is undertaken with care, dignity and respect. The packing and sending of the sediba and naledi fossils to space goes against such ethical standards and codes of practice for the care of human remains as followed by BABAO and other professional anthropological organisations.

The fossils have an anthropological, archaeological and scientific importance of global meaning and how they are treated concerns both the national and international community. 

Whilst there has over the past 50 years been considerable research into the effects of being in space on the human body as a means for improving and developing strategies to keep astronauts safe, there is no clarity for any scientific purpose or benefits to scientific research with the sending of such significant fossils to space and seemingly no ethical consideration or thought for the consequences of irreparable damage or loss of them. BABAO urges the reconsideration of this action and does not support the sending of fossils to space.

Jelena Bekvalac
BABAO President