The Centre of Excellence is hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand. The research thrust for the CoE comprises of five themes that will address research questions relating to the South African palaeosciences heritage record. The themes are conceptually linked to serve the ambitions of four overarching key research questions, which will inform the research approach:
- How does the South African palaeosciences record improve our understanding of the origins of species?
- What are the key behavioural transitions in hominid prehistory, including the origins of modern human behaviour?
- What are the Earth systems that drive evolution?
- What are the roles of extinctions and radiations in the evolutionary process?