Triple Tee Adventures

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_tta_tabs][vc_tta_section title=”Overview” tab_id=”1536164588962-4005e47a-e951″][vc_column_text]Olduvai Gorge, Olduvai also spelled Olduwai, paleoanthropological site in the eastern Serengeti Plain, within the boundaries of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania. It is a steep-sided ravine consisting of two branches that have a combined length of about 30 miles (48 km) and are 295 feet (90 metres) deep. Deposits exposed in the sides of the gorge cover a time span from about 2.1 million to 15,000 years ago. The deposits have yielded the fossil remains of more than 60 hominins (members of the human lineage), providing the most continuous known record of human evolution during the past 2 million years, as well as the longest known archaeological record of the development of stone-tool industries. Olduvai Gorge was designated part of a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Although Olduvai Gorge has often been called the “Cradle of Mankind,” a different World Heritage site called the “Cradle of Humankind” is located in South Africa. CompareSterkfontein, Swartkrans, and Kromdraai.

The Olduvai fossil beds accumulated in a lake basin between 4 and 9 miles (7 and 15 km) in diameter. The lake is underlain by volcanic rocks of the Pliocene Epoch (5.3 million to 2.6 million years ago) and, farther below, by metamorphic deposits of Precambrian time (more than roughly 542 million years ago). Relatively continuous rift-valley fault movements and volcanic action left Olduvai deeply incised. Water flow through the gorge further eroded the rock, exposing a delineated sequence of strata from which evolutionary events could be traced. Seven major stratigraphic units, or formations, have been distinguished. From the oldest to the youngest they are: Bed I (about 1.7 million to 2.1 million years old), Bed II (1.15 million to 1.7 million years old), Bed III (800,000 to 1.15 million years old), Bed IV (600,000 to 800,000 years old), the Masek Beds (400,000 to 600,000 years old), the Ndutu Beds(32,000 to 400,000 years old), and the Naisiusiu Beds (15,000 to 22,000 years old).

Bed I is at most 197 feet (60 metres) thick. It consists largely of lava flows, volcanic ash deposits, and detrital sediments. The upper part of the bed (1.7 million to 1.85 million years old) contains a rich and varied fauna and archaeological sites of the Oldowan industry. It was there in 1959 that English-born archaeologist Mary Leakey discovered a skull fragment belonging to an early hominin that her husband, Louis Leakey, named Zinjanthropus boisei (later reclassified as Paranthropus boisei). Officially labeled OH 5 (Olduvai Hominid 5) but dubbed “Nutcracker Man” because of its huge molars (indicative of a vegetarian diet), the skull was dated to about 1.75 million years ago. The discovery indicated that hominins evolved in Africa. Specimens of Homo habilis, a more humanlike species, were also found at Olduvai. These included OH 24, a skull popularly known as “Twiggy” because it had to be reconstructed from a flattened state.

The remains of Bed I are found principally where streams from volcanic highlands brought fresh water to the southern margin of an alkaline lake that existed at Olduvai. Conditions for preservation were unusually favourable at these sites because ashfalls from nearby volcanoes and fluctuations of the lake led to rapid burial of the hominin and associated remains. Other finds include Oldowan tools and the bones and teeth of various animals, notably medium-sized antelopes. Long animal bones and others containing marrow generally have been split and broken and often display bone-tool cut marks.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Activities” tab_id=”1536164589004-e0f7cd21-1884″][vc_column_text]

Discover the world as it was when we were once all African.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) – where people and their early ancestor have co-existed with wildlife for nearly four million years. This World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserveencompasses a spectacular mosaic of landscape that includes the breath-taking Ngorongoro Crater and the legendary Serengeti – the annual host of the World’s highest concentration and diversity of migratory animals numbering nearly two-million strong. As if this wasn’t enough, the NCA also contains two important and internationally-known fossil and archaeological sites: Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge. Both continue to contribute significantly to understanding of humankind’s physical, behavioral and technological evolution.

The Olduvai Gorge Museum and Visitors Center offer numerous educational exhibits, including fossils and artifacts of our human ancestors and skeletons of many extinct animals who shared their world. There are also informative lectures, special guided archaeological sites tours, native handcrafts and a well-stocked bookshop. See and learn about our collective human origins when we were once all Africans.

The Laetoli Footprints: First Steps on the Road to Humankind

See and touch a huge cast of actual footprints made by our early human ancestors (hominins ) known as “Lucy” Australopithecus afarensis. The prints of three hominins were miraculously preserved in muddy ash deposited by volcanic eruptions and hardened by the sun some 3.6 million years ago.

Made by feet little different than our own, they proved conclusively that these creatures stood and walked upright (bipedally) with a human-like stride a million years before the invention of stone tools and the initial growth in hominin brain size. It’s undoubtedly one of the most astounding and important scientific discoveries of our time.

A complete room of the Olduvai Museum devoted to the hominin footprint trail.

Walk in the Grand Canyon of Humankind

Some 30,000 years ago, splitting of the earth’s surface by violent geological activity and millennial of erosion by seasonally flowing streams incised the nearly 250 foot (90m) canyon known as Olduvai Gorge. These natural forces exposed a remarkably rich geological chronicle of human ancestry and the evolution of the Serengeti ecosystem. It was here that Mary and Louis Leakey unearthed the first well-dated artifacts and fossils of some of our earliest human ancestors after over 30 years of painstaking work. These include the famous Zinjanthropus (Australopithecus boisei) skull, homo habills, the presumed maker of the numerous early stone tools in the 1.8 to 1.6 million year-old deposits, and homo erectus, the larger bodied, larger brained hominin that preceded the earliest modern humans (Homo sapiens). Special archaeological tours guided by the Department of Antiquities personnel are available and include the remarkable Shifting Sands.

Nightmarish Flesh-Eaters Ruled the Birth of Our Early Ancestors

Similar to modern-day East African lakes, the nearly two million year-old paleolake Olduvai once teemed with large predators and gigantic plant-eaters. Clearly our ancestors lived and evolved in a brutal world where sudden death potentially lurked at every turn. They successfully competed against such dangerous competitors by seizing an opportunity created by large carnivores with the aid of a few sharp stones and refuge trees.

The Upright Apes Who Changed the World

Somewhere in the East Africa’s Great Rift Valley over two million years ago, a bipedal ape picked up two rounded fist-sized stones. Forcibly striking one against the other, he created a sharp-edged implement and several razor-edged stone flakes. By design or accident, this was the world’s most important technological breakthrough because it helped make us human. Their ability to cut open the thickest of animal hides and process and consume the nutritious flesh and bone marrow may have been the metabolic catalyst for increased brain size and our successful transition from apes to humans. These crude but effective tools and later stone implements are on display in the Olduvai Museum. The full, up-to-date story of Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge and our early ancestors is available in a newly published booklet available in the Museum book shop.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Location” tab_id=”1536165800406-46e062cb-01e0″][vc_gmaps link=”#E-8_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”][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row]



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