From Nairobi to Sibiloi National Park

31/08/2014

Our journey began at Nairobi airport where we took a little Cessna plane north 3 hours through Kenya until arriving at the main TBI camp at the eastern side of the lake. Flying the plane was Louise Leakey herself and her colleague Myriam. They are perfect pilots - the landing on the ground of savanna was incredibly soft!

Francisco ready to set off for Kenya 

Finally we arrived at the main TBI camp, a group of 10 large buildings about 1 km from Turkana Lake which was constructed by the local population, thanks to Richard Leakey's efforts and the private funding he secured. It comprises various labs, storage rooms, a kitchen, dormitories for students and researchers, and even a vault for holding precious hominids.

A hippo fossil

The Turkana Basin area is remarkably rich in both human and fauna fossils. Louise’s grandparents began excavating at the source of the lake - the Omo River in Ethiopia. All the fossils were sent to the University of Kenya, but there are so many fossils around the lake, particularly in the Sibiloi National Park, that it will need hundreds of people to find and research them all. For this purpose, the Leakey family founded a paleoanthropological institute here, which also stores the fossils. This has helped to attract more people here and develop the area.

Prehistoric animal remains found at the excavation site and waiting to be carefully cleaned, examined and documented.

At the TBI camp we met Richard Leakey and his wife Meave, who are really kind and modest, despite their status as prominent figures in human evolution research history. With them was a geologist named Karen and a bunch of native workers that help and support all TBI activities.

Denis getting ready to scan a boar skull.

It was raining today in Sibiloi National Park and a comfortable +25 degrees. However, the excavation sites have turned muddy and are difficult to reach by car. The plan for the rest of the day is to scan a fossilized boar’s head for training purposes and some modern day rhinoceros, giraffe and crocodile bone remains. Our plans for the next few days include camping a few nights at another location and scanning the remains of a crocodile, an elephant and a giant turtle right in the field!

A 3D scan of a boar skull, taken at the Turkana Basin paleontological site, Kenya

 

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