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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rise of the World's First Hominids

The Middle Awash Area of Ethiopia

Development, Growth and Evolution, Volume 20: Implications for the Study of the Hominid Skeleton (Linnean Society Symposium)The Middle Awash area of Ethiopia is the most persistently occupied place on Earth. Members of our lineage have lived, died, and been buried there for almost six million years. Now the bones of hominids are eroding out of the ground.

In the Afar desert of Ethiopia, there are a lot of ways to bite the sand so to speak. There is disease, of course. One can also perish from wild animal attack, snakebite, falling off a cliff, or in a shoot-out between one of the Afar clans and the Issa people across the Awash River to the east.

But life is fragile all over Africa. What is special here is the occasional durability of the deceased’s remains. The Afar Basin sits smack atop a widening rip in the Earth’s crust. Over time, volcanoes, earthquakes, and the slow accumulation of sediments have conspired to bury bones and then, much later, disgorge them to the surface as fossils. The process is ongoing. In August 2008 a young boy was taken by a crocodile in Yardi Lake, in an area of the Afar known as the Middle Awash.

Read More:  The Middle Awash Area of Ethiopia and the Rise of the World's First Hominids.

Courtesy of Auron from Edutainment

1 Comment:

Richard Wing said...

Amazing! 6 million years of treasures from our past of existence unearthed. Sounds like a real volatile region, though. Would have to be pretty into these searches considering the dangers. But some amazing finds with a lot of answers to histories questions.

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