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Cradle of Mankind

Skeleton find in Ethiopia changes knowledge of early man’s development

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa  Oct 15, 2009

A 4.4 million year old skeleton find in Ethiopia has revolutionized our knowledge of the “cradle of mankind.”

Dozens of archaeologists and scientists have for the past nearly 20 years worked on a “dig” in the region around the river Awash in the North of Ethiopia until they recently made the sensational find.

Along the way they also unearthed thousands of other bones and related items. The now arid area must have been well watered at the time as the sediment, in which the finds were embedded, seems to suggest, obviously offering better living conditions to our early ancestors. The latest finds are less than 100 kilometers from the place where in the 1970s “Lucy” was found, the remains of the now famous Australopithecus female.

There are presently scientific discussions (speak arguments) going on if the latest find is indeed the missing link between mankind and their ape predecessors, but there seems agreement that the new discoveries changes the equation of mankind’s projected development considerably. “Lucy” appears to have been dated some 3.2 million years ago and the find of “Ardi” – as the latest find was named, provides further insight into the development theories of modern man.

The presently oldest find of prehistoric skeletons was made in the Sahel zone and is estimated to be over 6.6 million years old.

Finds in Eastern Africa, including the area near Lake Turkana “Kobi For a” but also the digs in Tanzania in Olduvai – both made famous by the Leakey family – have long suggested that this part of the world was indeed the original “cradle of mankind” from where our distant ancestors commenced their march to settle the world but newer finds continue to add to our knowledge and future discoveries will undoubtedly help to write a clearer script as to where we came from.

Information sourced from Addis Ababa presently suggests that no tourist visitors will in the foreseeable future be permitted to access the site in order to protect and preserve the digs until such time that the scientists “give the all clear” for tourism to access at least some of the areas where “Ardi” was found similar to Kobi Fora at Lake Turkana or Olduvai Gorge at the boundary between the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park.

Skeleton find in Ethiopia changes knowledge of early man’s development
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