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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.
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.
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!
An archaeologist needed a way to digitally preserve ancient Peruvian artifacts and petroglyphs in damp, humid conditions, far more reliably and quickly than traditional photogrammetry.
With the high-resolution 3D scans of hundreds of thylacine specimens, the research team veraciously measured each specimen, and then used the 3D scans of full thylacine skeletons to digitally sculpt a lifelike 3D model of a thylacine for digital weighing.
With a full 3D model of the dinosaur skull, visitors and students are able to view the CU Museum of Natural History’s most popular exhibit despite coronavirus closure.