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Studying Osteology at the Field School

Our main focus this week has been trying to understand mammalian bone structure and functions. Students learned about mammalian evolution and adaptation to different ecological habitats. Bones tell us about the diets, locomotion style, and types of environment animals occupied. For instance, zebras have high crowned teeth (hypsodont), designed to better handle the tough foods [...]

By |2020-02-24T13:20:32-08:00February 23rd, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Studying Osteology at the Field School

The history of the Earth unrolled

  As we start our new course, Vertebrate Paleontology, taught by Prof. Ellen Miller of Wake Forest University, students are ready to put in practice all the amassed knowledge and skills from the last two courses (Ecology and Geology) in reconstructing paleoenvironments, and describing geological contexts in which fossils are found. The week started with [...]

By |2020-02-20T08:39:40-08:00February 19th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on The history of the Earth unrolled

A trip to Koobi Fora

On Wednesday morning, we packed and left for Koobi Fora for an overnight camping trip. Koobi Fora sits on the eastern shores of Lake Turkana, in Sibiloi National Park. The sediments in the region preserve numerous mammalian fossils, making it an important region for paleoanthropological research. Our first stop was at Il Allia river/Laga Bura [...]

By |2020-02-18T10:11:54-08:00February 16th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on A trip to Koobi Fora

Mapping and Stratigraphic sections

We’re in our last week of the Geology course. Students have been busy sharpening their mapping skills while working on various exercises. On Monday morning, students went out to the exhumed channels in Area 6A, where they examined and mapped sandstones that represent an ancient river channel. According to Dr. Raynolds, organizing geological information is [...]

By |2020-02-12T10:12:57-08:00February 11th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Mapping and Stratigraphic sections

Understanding the Geology of the Turkana Basin

Turkana Basin geology has been well studied and documented. Understanding the sedimentation processes and geochronology of the region is crucial in reconstructing paleoenvironments and putting data in context. Dr. Craig Feibel and Dr. Bob Raynolds, instructors for the Geology module, introduced students to the stratigraphy of the Ileret region, including the rich Pliocene and Pleistocene [...]

By |2020-02-10T10:45:13-08:00February 10th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Understanding the Geology of the Turkana Basin

Ecology and climate change

  Our last week at Mpala was an eventful one. Students learned about the various effects of human-wildlife interaction, pastoralism, and the effects of climate change on the ecosystem.  On Monday, Sandy Oduor, a researcher working with Mpala Elephant Project, accompanied students into the field to study the elephants. The immense droughts in recent years, [...]

By |2020-02-03T11:12:46-08:00February 1st, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Ecology and climate change

The Great Grevy’s Rally

The impact of climate change has been detrimental to the world's biodiversity. Many animals are endangered or facing extinction. In the East Africa Savannah, poaching, drought, and habitat loss are all factors affecting wildlife. Increased human populations have also led to habitat loss, livestock-wildlife competition, and as such, Grevy's zebra are now an endangered species. [...]

By |2020-02-18T10:01:11-08:00January 29th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on The Great Grevy’s Rally

Studying Vegetation ecology at Mpala

  The first week of the semester kicked off with the ecology module at Mpala Research Center (MRC). The biomes at the center are diverse and provide the students with a good “living laboratory” to understand the ecosystem of the region. MRC boasts great wildlife such as elephants and hippos, the endangered Grevy’s zebra, common [...]

By |2020-01-28T09:35:02-08:00January 26th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Studying Vegetation ecology at Mpala