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Encyclopedia > Olduvai Gorge
Olduvai Gorge, February 2006
Olduvai Gorge, February 2006
Olduvai Gorge from space
Olduvai Gorge from space
Topography of Olduvai Gorge
Topography of Olduvai Gorge

The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge is commonly referred to as "The Cradle of Mankind." It is a steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley, which stretches along eastern Africa. Olduvai is in the eastern Serengeti Plains in northern Tanzania and is about 30 miles long. The gorge is named after the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant Sansevieria ehrenbergii, commonly called Oldupaai. Image File history File linksMetadata Olduvai_Gorge. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Olduvai_Gorge. ... Download high resolution version (2504x2350, 1067 KB)Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania from space image description here Image Courtesy: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team File links The following pages link to this file: Olduvai Gorge Categories: NASA images ... Download high resolution version (2504x2350, 1067 KB)Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania from space image description here Image Courtesy: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team File links The following pages link to this file: Olduvai Gorge Categories: NASA images ... Topography of Olduvai Gorge image description here larger version here Image courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech File links The following pages link to this file: Olduvai Gorge Categories: NASA images ... Topography of Olduvai Gorge image description here larger version here Image courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech File links The following pages link to this file: Olduvai Gorge Categories: NASA images ... Grand Canyon, Arizona A canyon, or gorge, is a valley walled by cliffs. ... Northern section of the Great Rift Valley. ... Categories: Africa geography stubs | Eastern Africa ... The Serengeti is a region of grasslands and woodlands in Mara Region in Tanzania. ... A Maasai tribesman A replica of a Maasai hut at the Sarova White Sands Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya. ... Binomial name Sansevieria ehrenbergii Schweinf. ...


It is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world and has been instrumental in furthering understanding of early human evolution. Excavation work there was pioneered by Louis and Mary Leakey in the 1950s and is continued today by their family. Some believe that millions of years ago, the site was that of a large lake, the shores of which were covered with successive deposits of volcanic ash. Around 500,000 years ago seismic activity diverted a nearby stream which began to cut down into the sediments, revealing seven main layers in the walls of the gorge. Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey (August 7, 1903–October 1, 1972) was a British archaeologist whose work was important in establishing human evolutionary development in Africa. ... Mary Leakey (February 6, 1913 – December 9, 1996) was a British archaeologist, who, along with others, discovered the first skull of a fossil ape on Rusinga Island. ... Sediment is any particulate matter that can be transported by fluid flow and which eventually is deposited as a layer of solid particles on the bed or bottom of a body of water or other liquid. ...


The stratigraphy is extremely deep and layers of volcanic ashes and stones allow radiometric dating of the embedded artifacts, mostly through potassium-argon dating. The first artifacts in Olduvai (pebble tools and choppers) date to circa 2 million years ago but fossil remains of human ancestors have been found from as long as 2.5 million years ago. Stratigraphy, a branch of geology, is basically the study of rock layers and layering (stratification). ... Radiometric dating is a technique used to date materials based on a knowledge of the decay rates of naturally occurring isotopes, and the current abundances. ... Potassium-argon or K-Ar dating is a geochronological method used in many geoscience disciplines. ... I archaeology, an artifact or artefact is any object made or modified by a human culture, and often one later recovered by some archaeological endeavor. ... Olduwan, earlier spelled Oldowan or sometimes Oldawan, is an anthropological designation for an industry of stone tools used by prehistoric hominids of the Lower Paleolithic. ... A hand axe is a bifacial Paleolithic core tool. ... An ammonite fossil Eocene fossil fish of the genus Knightia Petrified wood fossil formed through permineralization. ...


The earliest archaeological deposit, known as Bed I, has produced evidence of campsites and living floors along with stone tools made of flakes from local basalt and quartz. Since this is the site where these kinds of tools were first discovered, these tools are called Oldowan. It is now thought that the Oldowan toolmaking tradition started about 2.6 million years ago. Bones from this layer are not of modern humans but primitive hominid forms of Paranthropus boisei and the first discovered specimens of Homo habilis. Ancient stone tools A stone tool is, in the most general sense, any tool made of stone. ... In archaeology, a lithic flake is a thin, sharp fragment of stone that results from the process of lithic reduction. ... Basalt Columnar basalt at Sheepeater Cliff in Yellowstone Basalt (IPA: ) is a common gray to black volcanic rock. ... Quartz is one of the most common minerals in the Earths continental crust. ... Oldowan is an anthropological designation for an industry of stone tools used by prehistoric hominids in the very early Paleolithic. ... Genera The hominids are the members of the biological family Hominidae (the great apes), which includes humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. ... Binomial name Paranthropus boisei (Mary Leakey, 1959) Paranthropus boisei had a skull highly specialized for heavy chewing. ... Binomial name †Homo habilis Leakey et al, 1964 Homo habilis (IPA ) (handy man, skillful person) is a species of the genus Homo, which lived from approximately 2. ...


The Olduvai Gorge bears the distinction of having the oldest known evidence of mammoth consumption, attributed to Homo erectus around 1.8 million years ago. Species Mammuthus africanavus   African mammoth Mammuthus columbi   Columbian mammoth Mammuthus exilis   Pygmy mammoth Mammuthus jeffersonii   Jeffersonian mammoth Mammuthus trogontheri   Steppe mammoth Mammuthus meridionalis Mammuthus primigenius   Woolly mammoth Mammuthus lamarmorae   Sardinian Dwarf Mammoth A mammoth is any of a number of an extinct genus of elephant, often with long curved tusks... Binomial name †Homo erectus (Dubois, 1892) Synonyms † Pithecanthropus erectus † Sinanthropus pekinensis † Javanthropus soloensis † Meganthropus paleojavanicus Homo erectus (upright man) is an extinct species of genus Homo. ...


Above this, in Bed II, pebble tools begin to be replaced by more sophisticated handaxes of the Acheulean industry and made by Homo erectus. This layer dates to around 1.5 million years ago. A hand axe is a bifacial Paleolithic core tool. ... Acheulean hand-axes from Kent. ... Binomial name †Homo erectus (Dubois, 1892) Synonyms † Pithecanthropus erectus † Sinanthropus pekinensis † Javanthropus soloensis † Meganthropus paleojavanicus Homo erectus (upright man) is an extinct species of genus Homo. ...


Beds III and IV have produced Acheulean tools and fossil bones with Neandertal characteristics which were used until around 600,000 years ago. Acheulean hand-axes from Kent. ... Binomial name Homo neanderthalensis King, 1864 The Neanderthal or Neandertal was a species of genus Homo (Homo neanderthalensis) that inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia from about 230,000 to 29,000 years ago (in the Middle Palaeolithic, early Stone Age). ...


Beds above these contained tools from a Kenya-Capsian industry made by modern humans and are termed the Masek Beds (600,000 to 400,000 years ago), the Ndutu Beds (400,000 to 32,000 years ago), and the Naisiusiu Beds (22,000 to 15,000 years ago).


Also located on the rim of the Gorge is the Olduvai Gorge Museum. This Museum presents exhibitions pertaining to the Gorge's history. The Olduvai Gorge Museum is located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Northern Tanzania on the edge the of Olduvai Gorge. ...


Olduvai is the location of the first monolith in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey series of books. A monolith is a geological or technological feature such as a mountain, consisting of a single massive stone or rock. ... Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (born December 16, 1917) is a British author and inventor, most famous for his science-fiction novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, and for collaborating with director Stanley Kubrick on the film of the same name. ...


Olduvai is also the theme of the Olduvai theory, which states that industrial civilization will have a lifetime of less than or equal to 100 years. The Olduvai theory was first introduced by Richard C. Duncan, Ph. ...


References

  • Cole, Sonia. Leakey’s Luck. Harcourt Brace Jovanvich: New York, New York, 1975
  • Joanne Christine Tactikos (2006) A landscape perspective on the Oldowan from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania ISBN 0-542-15698-9
  • Leakey, L.S.B., By the Evidence: Memoirs 1932-1951, Harcourt Brace Jovanavich, New York, 1974, ISBN 0-15-149454-1.
  • Leakey, M.D., 1971: Olduvai Gorge: Excavations in beds I & II 1960- 1963, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge; Disclosing the Past, Doubleday & Co., New York, 1984, ISBN 0-385-18961-3.

External links

  • Olduvai Gorge
  • OLDUPAI GORGE - History & Information

Coordinates: 2°59′S 35°21′E Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Olduvai Gorge: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (981 words)
The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge is commonly referred to as "The Cradle of Mankind." It is a steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley, which stretches along eastern Africa.
The Olduvai Gorge bears the distinction of having the oldest known evidence of mammoth consumption, attributed to Homo erectus around 1.8 million years ago.
Olduvai is also the theme of the Olduvai theory, which states that industrial civilization will have a lifetime of less than or equal to 100 years.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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