Christian Long

Louise Leakey: Digs for Humanity’s Origins

In TED Talks on May 10, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Reflection by COLTON C.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Louise Leakey: Digs for Humanity’s Origins

Louise and her mom, since she was little, would go and hunt for fossils in east Africa. They would look for the fossil remains of our ancestors. Louise and her mom were trying to find the origins for the human race. What they would do is walk with a video camera very slowly just looking at the ground. They would pretty much scan a whole area for fossils. This would take days if not months just to cover a small portion of land. While doing this, one of the people came across the lower jaw of a 4.1 million year old, upright, walking ape.

Now when I looked at the picture, there was no way I could see the jaw. It took me a couple of times before I could easily see it. I couldn’t imagine how carefully and slowly these people would have to do their jobs just for a chance to see a fossil. The chances of even finding a bone fragment is slim to none.

The chances of a fossil surviving for that long is very unlikely.

For a fossil to be created, the person or thing has to die and be buried very quickly. Then the earth has to move in such a way so that the fossil comes back to the surface. When a famous fossil finder was walking along a lake, he found a peace of a fossil that looks like a normal rock. What he came to find is that the skull was very close to the root of the tree. The tree had actually grown its roots around the bones so that it kept it intact.

She makes an interesting point that we are the smartest species to ever roam the earth but we might be the shortest lived species.


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