Indiana University Bloomington

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Field Geology and paleoanthropology in Tanzania

Dates: May 20-June 25 2015

The geology and paleoanthropology field course takes advantage of the IU’s long established reputation for field school instruction in the Earth sciences. Together with the research experiences available at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, a famous paleoanthropological site known for the discoveries of early human fossils by Drs. Louis and Mary Leakey this field course will provide first-hand experience in the application of interdisciplinary field methods in physical, biological and cultural contexts of human evolution. The class will focus on the integration of scientific tools and concepts in field geology, archaeology and paleontology research. Students will learn how to make and record field observations, interpret field data, conduct field experiments such as stone knapping and bone taphonomy. The course will provide skills to students who are interested in developing careers in human evolution, Quaternary geology, paleoclimate and paleoenvironments.

The rift valley region in northern Tanzania is one of the best areas to offer an interdisciplinary course in field geology, paleoanthropology and human evolution. Field instruction will take students to archaeological sites such as Olduvai Gorge, Laetoli, Ndutu and areas of geological interest such as the Ol Doinyo Lengai, Ngorongoro Crater, the Manyara-Natron rift escarpment, the Tanzanian Craton-Quaternary contact outcrops in the Serengeti-Ngorongoro plains. Studies in these areas will provide students with field opportunities to develop an understanding of the broad picture on the role of environments to human evolution.

images from Olduvai Gorge