Olduvai Gorge

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Olduvai Gorge, sometimes referred to as Oldupai Gorge, is a paleoanthropological site that is considered to be among the most important ones in the world, and it is located in the northern part of the United Republic of Tanzania.

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Holding one of the earliest evidence of the existence of human ancestors, this ravine that has very steep sides is within the proximity to Laetoli, which is also another important archaeological site of early human occupation, confirming that Tanzania and these places in particular are definitely the places where the evolutionary history of the humans can be traced.

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The most significant paleoanthropologist as well as archaeologist team that discovered most of the fossilized bones and stone tools is the team of Mary and Louis Leakey who successfully established and developed the excavation and research programs at this important site.

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Here they discovered and documented the evolutionary history of our stone tool-using ancestors, vertebrate fauna, and the environments over the last two million years.

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This steep-sided ravine that consists of two combined branches altogether being 48 km (30 mi) long, uncovered around 60 fossil remains of the members of the human lineage, also known as hominis, where paleoanthropologists have learned greatly about the now disappeared Oldowan culture.

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That same culture is considered to be the earliest human culture, in addition to its substitution by a new technology, the Acheulean, where both are nowadays one of the main topics in modern Paleoanthropology.

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Still, the paleoanthropologists are simply mesmerized by the significant findings of the increased developmental and social complexities in the earliest humans, how they started creating stone tools and the evidence of scavenging and hunting. Even the geologists are intrigued as there are five main layers of deposition, being named consequently as Beds I through V, while Bed I is considered the oldest and lowest in the entire sequence.

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From the hominid fossils found here, Olduvai Hominid 5, 7, 8, 9 and 24 are one of the most important ones, and because of them sometimes the site is called the “Cradle of Mankind”.

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Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, there are plenty of people who would like get as close as possible and get a glimpse of the human ancestors that began the history which we are able to see today, and also to visit the Olduvai Gorge Museum which is located at the edge of the gorge itself.

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That is why Olduvai Gorge is considered as a mesmerizing natural gem of Tanzania which should be protected so that more people would be able to learn a bit more about the beginnings of the humanity.

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