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Credit & Copyright: Dr. Bruce G.
Explanation: Once again our amazing world has sped around its star. As we enter a new calendar year, this week we visit a world -- our world -- of ancient prehistory. To know the past is to better understand ourselves at present.
We are at the Olorgasailie Prehistoric Archeological Site in the Ngong Hills, south of Nairobi, in the country of Kenya in east Africa. Here, the Rift Valley cradled ancient human cultures. To walk these eroded hills among today's acacia woodland is to literally step onto our own evolution.
We find piles -- hundreds, thousands -- of crudely crafted hand axes and stone blades, scattered and piled and still hidden beneath vast areas yet to be unearthed.
One trench dug in 1943 revealed stone tool and animal bone artifacts dating to about 662,000 years old. They were buried in volcanic sands, gravel, and pumice. They are testament to early hominids living and thriving in this harsh area, where modern humans must treat groundwater as precious.
Also found are the remains of an ancient streambed, containing large stone hand axes, stone flakes and cores, and rounded stones, along with fossils of hippos and tusks of wild boar. Their presence in the ancient streambed -- now long dry -- suggests that the artifacts may have been displaced some time ago by moving water.
Next week's picture: Shy Pademelon of the Dense Forests
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