The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Fossils from Olduvai Gorge come home and go online

JACKSON K. NJAU1, JACKSON KIHIYO2, PAUL MSEMWA3, AMANDUS KWEKA3, JOHN PARESSO4, AGNES GIDNA3 and LESLEA J. HLUSKO5.

1Department of Geological Sciences, Indiana University, 2National Museum of Tanzania, 3Museum & House of Culture, National Museum of Tanzania, 4Tanzanian Department of Antiquities, 5Human Evolution Research Center, University of California

Thursday 2:15-2:30, Ballroom C Add to calendar

Two efforts have been undertaken that improve and alter research access for the vertebrate fossils from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Since the site’s scientific discovery in 1911, numerous projects have undertaken work there. Fossils collected by these various projects are curated in museums around the world. The largest of these collections was in Nairobi, following the excavations by L.S.B. and M.D. Leakey between1931-1983. In 2011, officials from the Tanzanian and Kenyan governments agreed return of the fossils to the National Museum in Dar es Salaam, including all of the hominid fossils.

Simultaneously, the Comprehensive Olduvai Database Initiative (CODI) began. This project has built a web-accessible database of all fossils known from Olduvai Gorge (www.olduvai-paleo.org). Over 5,200 fossils have been entered into CODI, including 3,577 from scientific publications, 806 that are located in the museum in Munich, 245 that are a small part of a much larger assemblage of Bed III and IV material at the Leakey Camp at Olduvai Gorge, 367 are new fossils recovered by the Olduvai Vertebrate Paleontology Project in 2012, and 248 represent the cercopithecoid fossils recently returned from the Kenyan National Museums. The recently returned fossils from Nairobi and the Bed III/IV material at Olduvai Gorge continue to be inventoried. The database is updated online regularly.

We ask that anyone with knowledge of Olduvai fossils please contact us. Researchers interested in studying these fossils can use the database to plan their research and are most welcome to the Museum and House of Culture in Dar es Salaam.

CODI is supported by funding from the National Science Foundation.

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