Karoo Palaeontology Department
 
 

Staff

SPECIALIST Museum Scientist
and Head of Department

Jennifer Botha Brink

Jennifer Botha-Brink PhD, Pr Sci Nat    jbotha [at] nasmus [dot] co [dot] za

Jennifer Botha-Brink graduated in 2002 with a PhD in palaeobiology from the University of Cape Town. Her thesis focused on Permo-Triassic cynodont bone histology (microstructure) and stable isotope tooth analyses in order to understand aspects of their biology and ecology. In 2003, Dr Botha-Brink began a two year post-doctoral fellowship at the Iziko South African Museum on the faunal turnover across the South African Permo-Triassic boundary. This boundary represents the end-Permian extinction event in the Karoo Basin and is considered to be the most catastrophic mass extinction event in Earth’s history. During this time she also lectured undergraduate students in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cape Town. She then went on to take up the position as Head of the Karoo Palaeontology Department at the National Museum in Bloemfontein. In 2006, Dr Botha-Brink became an Affiliated Researcher with the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of the Free State and began lecturing undergraduate students. She is currently supervising several postgraduate students as well. Dr Botha-Brink has presented more than 15 papers at both national conferences and abroad, published more than 20 articles in national and international scientific journals and is a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated scientist. Current research interests include the biology and ecology of Permo-Triassic therapsids and parareptiles (closely related to true reptiles), the end-Permian extinction event and subsequent recovery, and the bone histology of fossil vertebrates.


Collections Manager
and Principal Research Assistant

Elize Butler is a National Museum Staff Member in the Palaeontology department

Elize Butler MSc    elize [dot] butler [at] nasmus [dot] co [dot] za

Elize Butler has been working at the National Museum since 1993. She obtained a BSc degree from the University of the Free State, majoring in Zoology and Botany and an Honours degree in Zoology. She recently completed an MSc thesis (cum laude) entitiled "The post-cranial skeleton of the Early Triassic non-mammalian cynodont Galesaurus planiceps: implications for biology and lifestyle". As Collections Manager she is responsible for the Geology and Palaeontology Collections at the Museum. This includes curating the collection, managing and maintaining the database and handling enquiries by scientists and members of the public.


Fossil preparators

Specialist Preparator

John Nyaphuli is a National Museum Staff Member in the Palaeontology department

John Nyaphuli

John has been a member of the Palaeontology Department since 1973. He is one of South Africa’s most renowned preparators and is well-known for his fine preparation. John has also discovered numerous fossils in the field, two of which have been named after him (Australosyodon nyaphuli and Patranomodon nyaphuli). In 2004, John received an Honorary Life Membership from the The Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa for his outstanding contribution to Palaeontology.


Chief Preparator

Joël Mohoi is a National Museum Staff Member in the Palaeontology department

Joël Mohoi

Joël has been working at the Museum since 1975. His field of expertise lies in the preparation of both small and larger fossil specimens. He is responsible for all the casting and moulding of specimens in the Department and in the palaeontological exhibitions. Joël has also found numerous fossils in the field, one of which one has been named after him (Lanthanostegus mohoii).


Senior Preparator

NNthaopa Ntheri is a National Museum Staff Member in the Palaeontology department

Nthaopa Ntheri

Nthaopa worked at the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research (BPI) at the University of the Witwatersrand for five years before he joined the Palaeontology Department of the Museum in 2006. He prepares both small and larger fossil specimens. He is also an experienced fossil finder in the field and was responsible for finding an almost complete, fully articulated Erythrosuchus africanus skeleton in 2008.


Preparator

Sharon Ledibane

Sharon Ledibane

Sharon has been a member of the Palaeontology Department of the Museum since 2006. She prepares mainly larger fossils and occasionally assists with field work.


Preparator

 Sina Chaka

Sina began working for the Museum in 2011. She is currently in training under the mentorship of our specialist preparator, Mr John Nyaphuli.


Preparator

William Molehe

William became a member of the Palaeontology Department in 2011. He is currently in training under the mentorship of our specialist preparator, Mr John Nyaphuli.