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…

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

Current Anthropology Volume 53, Supplement 6

Current Anthropology Vol 53 Supplement 6 is open access. For those who haven’t seen it, it was published in December of 2012, the articles come out of a Wenner-Gren Symposium titled “Human Biology and the Origins of Homo.”

Joshua Tree National Park Closures and Social Media: This Sucks!

Parts of the Joshua Tree National Park have been closed due to vandalism in both canyons and to some archaeological sites. The Inquisitr has more:

In addition to allowing park workers time to repair some of the damage, the Joshua Tree closures will give them an opportunity to investigate the crime. The park officials strongly suspect the vandals are involved in a social media campaign which involves sharing photos of their graffiti on Facebook.

However, they haven’t revealed if they’re looking at specific Facebook pages or if they have any leads on specific criminals. They did ask if you see something to report it to park workers.

Yeah, you read that right vandals are, possibly, sharing pictures of their destruction via social media. I can’t imagine what there is in these acts of destruction that would be worth bragging about via Facebook, but, in the words of Vonnegut “Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”

Interesting Video: Mesa: Hohokam Civilization in the Salt River Valley

This is pretty cool!

Begging for Articles: Australopithecus sediba

Can someone send me the Australopithecus sediba papers that are published in the current issue of Science? links are below

The Vertebral Column of Australopithecus sediba

The Lower Limb and Mechanics of Walking in Australopithecus sediba

The Upper Limb of Australopithecus sediba

Mosaic Morphology in the Thorax of Australopithecus sediba

Mandibular Remains Support Taxonomic Validity of Australopithecus sediba

Dental Morphology and the Phylogenetic “Place” of Australopithecus sediba
I have them now, thanks!
My email address is on the “About” tab.

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