Happy new year! I hope you all had peaceful holidays. The spring 2024 TBI field school is off to a great start. The students arrived in Nairobi on the 18th of January and we spent the first two nights at the amazing Wildebeest Eco camp in Nairobi. There the students had a chance to recover from their travels and start to get to know one another. This time we have a great team including five Kenyan students and seven students from North America. The ambience at Wildebeest is really peaceful and we were all marveling at the loud chorus of the Ibis birds, as well as getting a first glimpse at some of the cheeky Sykes monkeys.

I am Dr Nicholas Taylor and I am the resident director of the spring 2024 field school, working alongside our fantastic teaching assistant Medina Lubisia. It’s a privilege to be leading the field school team.

The Spring 2024 field school at the world-famous Nairobi National Museum.

On the 19th of January, we visited the Nairobi National Museum and had a tour of the human origins exhibition, which included a closer look at some of the world famous fossil collections that showcase Kenya’s central role in the evolution of humanity.

Later on in the day, we visited the Giraffe Centre where the students had the chance to feed these beautiful animals while also avoiding their famous head-butts! We learned that an adult can see further than 2 miles, and that their hearts can weigh 11kgs and can pump twice as much blood as that of an adult human. The giraffe is a wonderful example of evolution, shown particularly in the recurrent laryngeal nerve, which in all mammals loops from the brain around the heart and back up to the larynx – but in the giraffe that means a detour of several meters!

On Saturday the 20th January, we got up early to drive north to the Mpala Research Centre based near Nanyuki, crossing the equator on the way! The field school is based here for the next week as the students start classes. Their first professor is Dr. Dino Martins, who will be teaching us all about the modern and ancient environments of East Africa. Please keep a look out for our next blog-post, which will be coming very soon!

The field school team crossing north over the equator!