Late Pliocene Homo and Hominid Land Use from Western Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

Blumenschine et al

20 Feb 2003

Book ID 674

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Blumenschine et al Late Pliocene Homo and Hominid Land Use from Western Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, 20 Feb 2003
Extract Author: Laura Kennedy
Extract Date: 20Feb 2003

Humankind's family tree reshaped

A 1.8-million-year-old jawbone and other fossils uncovered in Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge have reignited a longstanding controversy about the family tree of humankind's earliest ancestors. At the same time, the finds offer a new look at how and where early humans lived, according to a study in the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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With Fidelis Masao of Tanzania and Charles Peters of the University of Georgia, Blumenschine co-directs the Olduvai Landscape Paleoarchaeology Project. These researchers focus on stone tools and animal bones bearing butchery marks to reveal the activities of long-ago human ancestors. Fortunately, such specimens occurred in abundance along with OH 65, so the find has shed light on both the evolution and behavior of early humans.

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The work of the Science team in western Olduvai yielded at least one other definitive finding. "The Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania has shown its potential is far from exhausted," wrote erstwhile Leakey colleague Phillip Tobias of South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand, in a commentary that accompanies the Science paper.

Blumenschine agreed: "There's a perception that the Leakeys found everything, but that's the furthest thing from the truth. As long as the Tanzanians continue to treasure and conserve Olduvai, the whole world will continue to be amazed by it."

Extract ID: 3912