Laetoli Museum Closer To Reality

Laetoli, for those who don’t know, is the home of hominin footprints that are around 3.6 million years old. The footprints have posed a preservation problem to the paleoanthropology community – something I have written about here and here. Phys.Org has a press release on the subject:

In many ways the museum is the brainchild of Musiba, a Tanzanian-born anthropologist who has been studying the footprints since 1996 and has long championed protecting them while making the collection available to the public. Currently, the footprints are preserved by keeping them buried.
“Right now the footprints are covered up and the only way to study them is to re-excavate them, which could be damaging,” he said. “We would like to excavate half of the site and build the museum over it. We can then control the ambient air, the moisture and pH levels inside to protect the prints.”
Musiba and Lockley will advise Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism on how best to protect the Laetoli Conservation Project. The $35 million project will develop the Laetoli World Heritage Site into a state-of-the-art complex that will include a museum, research facility with labs and accommodation for 35 scientists and an education center that can host 50 students and six teachers.

The new facility is expected to be completed in about five years and will have a laboratory dedicated specifically for students and researchers from CU Denver, the premier public research university in Denver.

Project Nim

I first wrote about Nim back in June of 2008 when I reviewed the book Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human by Elizabeth Hess. In September of 2011 I mentioned that a documentary had been made based on the book by Hess. HBO aired the documentary last night and is airing it again on 10/19/14 (check your listings). I highly recommend it, but be warned it will make you sad and cause you to question the collective sanity of humans…

Whale Watching

I am still busy researching the promised post on whales, in the meantime, this is pretty entertaining – and creepy

The Future Of This Blog

After being on hiatus for quite awhile I have been feeling the urge to write again. A large part of the reason for the hiatus was frustration at obtaining the science articles on the subjects I wanted to write about. Since I’m not in Academia I am dependent on an article being open access or on the kindness of readers. This created a lot of frustration and eventual burnout. This time around I plan on changing things a little. Rather than focus on the current breaking news in anthropology and science I will be focusing on what I have the resources to write about. That said, if I can come up with the science article behind the “new” story so much the better. I also don’t plan on blogging at the same pace as before. Look for 2-3 posts a week, more or less.

I have always loved to fish (even though I don’t eat fish – other than walleye) and this spring I decided to take up fly fishing and have learned how to tie flies as well, so I will be adding a page on my adventures with fly fishing. I’ll call the page Trout Madness in tribute to Robert Traver (pen name of John Voelker).

I am working on my first science post – on whales – which should be up sometime in the next day or two.

Update: I also have some administrative things to do, such as cleaning up the blog roll and writing a new “About” page…

Thinking About Restarting Blog

Feedback would be appreciated.

Know Your Hominin: A.L. 666-1

A.L. 666-1 was discovered in 1994 in Hadar, Ethiopia. It dates to ~2·33 MYA and has been attributed to Homo habilis. A number of Oldowan flakes and choppers were found as well.

AL 666-1(From Kimbel et al 1996)

Literature

Kimbel et al 1996 Late Pliocene Homo and Oldowan Tools from the Hadar Formation (Kada Hadar Member), Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution 31: 549–561

Kimbel et al 1997 Systematic Assessment of a Maxilla of Homo From Hadar, Ethiopia. AJPA 103:235–262

Need Help Identifying Mushrooms

The mushroom below is growing on a tree in my backyard. I know very little about botany in general and mushrooms in particular, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Continue reading

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