Insights from our bipedal ancestors

The Fall 2015 Origins Field School is now more than halfway through! We are currently in our fourth module Human Origins and our last module at TBI Ileret facilities (we will spend another 2 weeks at the Turkwel field station). Starting this week, students are going to learn how we are different from our ape-like [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:39+00:00 October 29th, 2015|Fall 2015, Field Schools|Comments Off on Insights from our bipedal ancestors

Buluk and back again

It was 7:30 in the morning, cool and cloudy. The Field School truck set off from TBI Ileret for a three-hour drive to Buluk, about a 76 kilometre trip. It was a long-planned and well prepared journey. We had everything loaded up for what we would need in the three-day camping trip: water, food, tents, [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:39+00:00 October 24th, 2015|Fall 2015, Field Schools|Comments Off on Buluk and back again

Buried beneath a mountain of bones

The evolutionary theories we learned last time are powerful tools to explain the world we see today. How different organisms go from simple to complex has always amazed me. I believe our students feel the same way. We also had in-depth discussions about systematics and phylogeny among ourselves. Some of the topics were even philosophical. [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:39+00:00 October 18th, 2015|Fall 2015, Field Schools|Comments Off on Buried beneath a mountain of bones

Toilet paper and phylogeny

We are in the fifth week of the 2015 Fall Origins Field School and we have started out third module: Vertebrate Paleontology! In this module, we have our new instructor Dr. Ellen Miller from Wake Forest University. Dr. Miller has been working in the Turkana Basin for more than a decade and had incredible field [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:40+00:00 October 14th, 2015|Fall 2015, Field Schools|Comments Off on Toilet paper and phylogeny

Bones and Rocks of contention

Last time, we learned about stratigraphy and the law of superposition. Now the students are going to use this information to come up with a reasonable interpretation of the age of fossils. Imagine that we already know the age of a specific layer of sediments in the Turkana Basin. According to the law of superposition, [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:40+00:00 October 10th, 2015|Fall 2015, Field Schools|Comments Off on Bones and Rocks of contention

All about stratigraphy

In the second week of the Geology module, we are deepening our understanding of stratigraphy with Dr. Christopher Lepre from Columbia University. Stratigraphy is an integral component of geology in the Turkana Basin. It is the relationship between layers of rocks or sediments, and one of the most important relationship is the law of superposition. It [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:40+00:00 October 8th, 2015|Fall 2015, Field Schools|Comments Off on All about stratigraphy

Rain, rocks and sediments

In the last few days of the Geology module, students learned about the climate system in East Africa as a foundation for the sedimentology of Lake Turkana. Dr. Christopher Lepre, the module instructor from Columbia University, started with how the earth moves and how it affects the heat distribution between different climate zones, as well [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:40+00:00 October 4th, 2015|Fall 2015, Field Schools|Comments Off on Rain, rocks and sediments

Geology module begins!

The Fall 2015 Origins Field School students have successfully accomplished the Ecology module by presenting their scientific thinking and design through their project proposals. Dr. Dino Martins, the director of Mpala, said that it had been a delightful two weeks to live and interact with the field school students. A follow-up blog will be posted [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:40+00:00 September 29th, 2015|Fall 2015, Field Schools|Comments Off on Geology module begins!