Rising Star team advance scientist Elen Feuerriegel has another new post on the Rising Star Expedition blog, discussing her work with the collection after the close of excavations: "A Bone in Hand Is Worth Ten in a Book".
Nevertheless, between working on the RS material and the PVT fossil collection, it was easy to start drawing connections (and disconnections) between the hominins of Rising Star and the fossil material from Sterkfontein and Malapa that I may not have made had I only been dealing with these populations in the abstract.
I think this, more than anything, drove home the importance of open access to fossils for me. Allowing other researchers to study the primary specimens has the potential to reveal connections that may not have been immediately obvious. Returning to the blank slate is an important step that reduces the possibility of building on an error.
In case you wonder whether I've stopped blogging about anything else, I have been busy this week preparing the site to move to a new server and new platform. The Rising Star Expedition finally put my readership over the top of what my server could handle -- visits now number up around 14,000 per day, and peak traffic is generating slowdowns in viewing the site. Some readers have not been getting through at all, and that's not acceptable to me.
So I've been working on that, and I should have the site onto the new platform sometime before the end of the year. Much more exciting stuff is coming!