Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Early Man in Kenya

The Rift Valley, which runs through Kenya is the site of many of the world's oldest hominid remains.  Teams of paleoanthropologists working with Louis and Mary Leakey and their son Richard have uncovered many of these ancient bones in the area around Lake Turkana.  The Kenya National Museum houses some of the most outstanding specimins. A statue of Louis Leakey greets the visitor.  The museum is modern and well kept.
There are specimens of African animals and many birds.  The elephant skeleton is huge.  The story is that Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president, assigned guards to this elephant so that it would not be taken by poachers.  The length of the tusks is extraordinary.  Elephants live to about the age of 70. Every ten years they get a new set of teeth until they get their last set at 60.  Since elephant dentists are scarce, when this last set of teeth wear out, they can no longer eat.
The exhibit on early man includes replicas of Lucy found by Donald Johansen and Australopithecus Afrcanus discovered by Robert Broom.  The jewels of the exhibit are several actual skulls found in Kenya near Lake Turkana in the northwest.  Australopithecus boisei, and several variations of Homo Sapiens lie under glass on special foam.  The nearly complete skeleton of Turkana Boy, dated at 1.5 million years old, occupies the middle of the room,.  This is no ordinary exhibit. A visit to Nairobi is not complete without a visit here.

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