Olduvai Gorge

OlduvaiLake OlduvaiOldevai GorgeOldupaiOlduvay culture
The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge in Tanzania is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world; it has proven invaluable in furthering understanding of early human evolution.wikipedia
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Tanzania

TanzanianUnited Republic of TanzaniaRepublic of Tanzania
The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge in Tanzania is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world; it has proven invaluable in furthering understanding of early human evolution.
The genus Australopithecus ranged all over Africa 4 to 2 million years ago; and the oldest remains of the genus Homo are found near Lake Olduvai.

Louis Leakey

LouisLeakey FoundationL. S. B. Leakey
The British/Kenyan paleoanthropologist-archeologist team Mary and Louis Leakey established and developed the excavation and research programs at Olduvai Gorge which achieved great advances of human knowledge and world-renowned status.
Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey (7 August 1903 – 1 October 1972) was a Kenyan paleoanthropologist and archaeologist whose work was important in demonstrating that humans evolved in Africa, particularly through discoveries made at Olduvai Gorge with his wife, fellow paleontologist Mary Leakey.

Mary Leakey

MaryDr. Mary Leakeyhis wife
The British/Kenyan paleoanthropologist-archeologist team Mary and Louis Leakey established and developed the excavation and research programs at Olduvai Gorge which achieved great advances of human knowledge and world-renowned status. Mary Leakey first visited the site in 1935, joining Louis and Percy Edward Kent.
She also discovered the robust Zinjanthropus skull at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, eastern Africa.

Laetoli

Laetoli footprintsLaetoli, TanzaniaLaetoli Footprint
A steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley that stretches across East Africa, it is about 48 km long, and is located in the eastern Serengeti Plains in the Arusha Region about 45 km from Laetoli, another important archaeological site of early human occupation.
The site of the Laetoli footprints (Site G) is located 45 km south of Olduvai gorge.

Homo habilis

H. habilis(H. Habilis)early human ancestors
Homo habilis, probably the first early human species, occupied Olduvai Gorge approximately 1.9 million years ago (mya); then came a contemporary australopithecine, Paranthropus boisei, 1.8 mya, followed by Homo erectus, 1.2 mya. In May 1960, at the FLK North-North site, the Leakeys' son Jonathan found the mandible that proved to be the type specimen for Homo habilis.
The type specimen is OH 7, discovered in 1960 at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, associated with the Oldowan lithic industry; the fossils were identified as a separate species of Homo with the proposed binomial name of ''H.

Human evolution

evolutionearly manevolution of humans
The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge in Tanzania is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world; it has proven invaluable in furthering understanding of early human evolution.
During the 1960s and 1970s, hundreds of fossils were found in East Africa in the regions of the Olduvai Gorge and Lake Turkana.

East Africa

Eastern AfricaEastEastern
A steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley that stretches across East Africa, it is about 48 km long, and is located in the eastern Serengeti Plains in the Arusha Region about 45 km from Laetoli, another important archaeological site of early human occupation.
Some of the earliest hominin skeletal remains have been found in the wider region, including fossils discovered in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia, as well as in the Koobi Fora in Kenya and Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.

Arusha Region

ArushaArusha DistrictArusha province
A steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley that stretches across East Africa, it is about 48 km long, and is located in the eastern Serengeti Plains in the Arusha Region about 45 km from Laetoli, another important archaeological site of early human occupation.
Other geographical features include the Monduli Mountains, Mount Loolmalasin, Mount Longido, and the Olduvai Gorge.

Paleoanthropology

paleoanthropologistpaleoanthropologicalpaleoanthropologists
The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge in Tanzania is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world; it has proven invaluable in furthering understanding of early human evolution.
But with political instability and social unrest brewing in China, beginning in 1966, and major discoveries at Olduvai Gorge and East Turkana (Koobi Fora), the paleoanthropological spotlight shifted westward to East Africa.

Hans Reck

Reck
Inspired by Kattwinkel's discovery, German geologist Hans Reck led a team to Olduvai in 1913.
In 1913 he was the first to discover the ancient skeleton of a human in the Olduvai Gorge, in what is now Tanzania.

Wilhelm Kattwinkel

While travelling in German East Africa in 1911 to investigate sleeping sickness, German physician and archaeologist Wilhelm Kattwinkel visited Olduvai Gorge, where he observed many fossil bones of an extinct three-toed horse.
He was particularly known for the discovery of the fossil deposit in the Olduvai Gorge, which in the following years delivered many findings of hominins.

Stone tool

stone toolslithicstone axe
The site is significant in showing the increasing developmental and social complexities in the earliest humans, or hominins, largely revealed in the production and use of stone tools.
The earliest stone tools in the life span of the genus Homo are Mode 1 tools, and come from what has been termed the Oldowan Industry, named after the type of site (many sites, actually) found in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, where they were discovered in large quantities.

Oldowan

Olduwanpebble toolstone tools
In addition to an abundance of faunal remains the Leakeys found stone tools Mary classified as Oldowan.
The term Oldowan is taken from the site of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, where the first Oldowan lithics were discovered by the archaeologist Louis Leakey in the 1930s.

Paranthropus boisei

Australopithecus boiseiP. boiseiZinjanthropus boisei
Homo habilis, probably the first early human species, occupied Olduvai Gorge approximately 1.9 million years ago (mya); then came a contemporary australopithecine, Paranthropus boisei, 1.8 mya, followed by Homo erectus, 1.2 mya. In July 1959, at the FLK site (the initials of Louis' first wife Frida Leakey, and K for korongo, the Swahili language word for gully), Mary Leakey found the skull of Zinjanthropus or Australopithecus boisei.
First discovered by anthropologist Mary Leakey on July 17, 1959, at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, the well-preserved cranium (nicknamed "Nutcracker Man") was dated to 1.75 million years ago and had characteristics distinctive of the robust australopithecines.

Gregory Rift

Eastern Rift ValleyGregory Rift ValleyEastern Rift
A steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley that stretches across East Africa, it is about 48 km long, and is located in the eastern Serengeti Plains in the Arusha Region about 45 km from Laetoli, another important archaeological site of early human occupation.
In 1913 the German geologist Hans Reck made the first study of the strata in the Olduvai Gorge to the west of the Crater Highlands.

Paranthropus

robust australopithecineZinjanthropusrobust australopithecines
In July 1959, at the FLK site (the initials of Louis' first wife Frida Leakey, and K for korongo, the Swahili language word for gully), Mary Leakey found the skull of Zinjanthropus or Australopithecus boisei.
Paranthropus boisei was discovered by Mary Leakey on July 17, 1959, at the FLK Bed I site of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania (specimen OH 5).

Kariandusi prehistoric site

KariandusiKariandusi Museum
Louis Leakey became convinced that Olduvai Gorge held stone tools, thinking the deposits were of similar age to the Kariandusi prehistoric site in Kenya.
Using funds for his Expedition, Leakey was able to finance three separate trips to the site (in 1928, 1931, and 1946) and several trip to his other research destinations including Olduvai Gorge and Lake Victoria.

Serengeti

Serengeti PlainsGreat MigrationSerengeti ecosystem
A steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley that stretches across East Africa, it is about 48 km long, and is located in the eastern Serengeti Plains in the Arusha Region about 45 km from Laetoli, another important archaeological site of early human occupation.
The area is also home to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which contains Ngorongoro Crater and the Olduvai Gorge, where some of the oldest hominin fossils have been found.

Percy Edward Kent

Mary Leakey first visited the site in 1935, joining Louis and Percy Edward Kent.
P.E. Kent joined Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey in their 1935 investigation of Olduvai Gorge.

Jonathan Leakey

Jonathan
In May 1960, at the FLK North-North site, the Leakeys' son Jonathan found the mandible that proved to be the type specimen for Homo habilis.
On 4 November 1960, Leakey discovered the OH 7 fossils at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

Garniss Curtis

The oldest fossils are found on this surface, dated at 1.89 mya, while stone tools have been dated at 1.7 mya through the first use of K-Ar dating by Garniss Curtis.
In 1960, Curtis and fellow UC Berkeley geophysicist Jack Evernden used potassium-argon dating methods developed by UC Berkeley physicist John Reynolds on minerals found in tephra deposits collected by Evernden to date Mary Leakey's 1959 Olduvai Gorge Bed I hominin Zinjanthropus (Paranthropus boisei) to 1.89 to 1.57 Mya.

Chopper (archaeology)

chopperchoppersChopper tradition
The Leakeys determined that choppers were the most common stone tool found at the site, amounting to over half of the total number, and identified 11 Oldowan sites in the gorge, 9 in Bed I, and 2 in Bed II.
These earliest known specimens were found in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania by Louis Leakey in the 1930s.

Abbevillian

ChelleanAbbevillian industry
Above this layer, and later in time, are the true hand-axe industries, the Chellean and the Acheulean.
The label Abbevillian prevailed until the Leakey family discovered older (yet similar) artifacts at Olduvai Gorge (a.k.a. Oldupai Gorge), starting in 1959, and promoted the African origin of man.

K–Ar dating

potassium-argon datingpotassium–argon datingK-Ar
The oldest fossils are found on this surface, dated at 1.89 mya, while stone tools have been dated at 1.7 mya through the first use of K-Ar dating by Garniss Curtis.
One archeological application has been in bracketing the age of archeological deposits at Olduvai Gorge by dating lava flows above and below the deposits.

Dune

sand dunesand dunesdunes
Dunes formed after the deposition of Oldonyo Lengai tuffs make up the uppoer portion of the Ndutu Beds, but yield few fossils.