Scientist to lead group to visit human origins sites in Africa

Activities will include in-depth visits to key locations across three countries.

Popular Archaeology Magazine is assembling a group of individuals to embark on a highly specialized educational expedition through three countries in Africa. Focusing on sites and regions that bear evidence related to human origins, this group will travel and visit a selection of the most iconic and productive sites that have yielded game-changing finds of the Plio-Pleistocene hominin fossil and archaeological artifact record in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. 

Led by a noted paleoanthropologist with significant research experience in Africa, the group will visit sites like Koobi Fora and Olorgesailie in Kenya, Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli in Tanzania, and Sterkfontein and Swartkrans in South Africa, among others. Other locations and activities may include visits to original fossil and artifact collections at museums in Nairobi, Arusha, and Johannesburg, and a game drive or two in Tanzania or Kenya. Group members will have the opportunity to meet with key scientists who have helped to make ground-breaking discoveries in these countries.   

“This specialized educational expedition is unique,”, says Dan McLerran, creator and editor of Popular Archaeology Magazine. “As far as I know, there is simply no other travel experience like this one offered by any organization.”

Program designers are developing an itinerary that is expected to be a broad yet immersive experience, so they are hoping to attract people — professionals, enthusiasts, and students alike — who have a passion for the science of human evolution and perhaps even a desire to make a contribution. “One of the objectives of this venture is to provide an opportunity for at least some of the participants to produce published stories, blog posts and photographic images for the consuming public and/or curriculum packages/slideshows for science education in schools, depending upon their backgrounds and goals,” says McLerran. 

“As such,” he adds, “it is more like an expedition with a purpose as opposed to a typical tour, and it will be limited to a group willing and able to make the financial commitment and to travel long distances by vehicle and walk or hike in a variety of terrains, including the African savannah environment. Finally, this may only happen once, so it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these participants.” 

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koobifora

 Koobi Fora, at Lake Turkana in Kenya: One of the many sites the group will visit during the project venture. Maina Kiarie, Enzi Museum, Wikimedia Commons

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Individuals interested in this opportunity can read more about this at this website and should contact Dan McLerran at [email protected] with a description of why they want to participate and their background and goals related to human evolution and human origins.  

Cover Image, Above: The famous Taung Child skull, now housed at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Didier Descouens, Wikimedia Commons

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