Majaliwa to ‘meet’ woman who lived at Olduvai 3 million yrs ago

16Jul 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Majaliwa to ‘meet’ woman who lived at Olduvai 3 million yrs ago

PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa is set to receive a sculpture of a woman who lived at Olduvai Gorge in Northern Tanzania some 3.2 million years ago during his visit to Arusha next week.

The premier will ‘meet’ the replica of the remains of the woman named Lucy, believed to have trekked the Olduvai plains more than three million years ago but whose skeletons are preserved and kept in Ethiopia.

“But Lucy’s jawbones, discovered by Dr Mary Leakey in Olduvai Gorge, correspond with the skeleton in Ethiopia and that is why we have made special replica of the lady, believed to have been short but with long arms,” Prof Audax Mabula, the chairman of the 60th anniversary celebrations of Zinjanthropus discovery said yesterday.

Lucy, who left behind her footsteps solidified onto caked volcanic ash at Laetoli, is believed to be a million years older than the Zinjanthropus Bosei whose skull now dates 60 years since it was unearthed at Olduvai.

The skull of Zinjanthropus, the earliest man dating back nearly two million years ago, will be displayed in the course of this week to reinforce the scientific truism that the first humans actually originated from Ngorongoro District.

Dr Louis and Mary Leakey who conducted archaeological research since 1930 and made their major findings in 1959 that changed world archaeological narratives, left behind a camp which will also be inaugurated by premier Majaliwa as a special museum dedicated to the humanoids discovery.

Joshua Mwankunda, who is in-charge of the Cultural Heritage Department at Ngorongoro Conservation Area, said Dr Leakey’s camp will officially be unveiled during the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the cranium of the so-called ‘Nutcracker Man.’

“The NCAA is diversifying its tourism products to include Geopark Sites, cultural heritage, archaeological locations, human history and traditional culture to enable tourists to spend more days in the country,” he explained.

 Joyce Mgaya, the Acting Public Relations Manager for the NCAA, said that Ngorongoro is globally recognized as cradle of mankind and this can be attested at Olduvai where the Leakeys working since the 1930s. The remains of the researchers’ house, laboratory, equipment and vehicles will form yet another museum set up,” she said.

 In sync with that arrangement, a symposium of scientists, archaeologists, researchers and scholars is to be staged at the Arusha International Conference Center next Saturday to mark 60 years of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Earlier on the Deputy Commissioner Conservator for Ngorongoro, Hillary Mushi said there will be special transport for local residents to visit Olduvai site, while registration will take place at Arusha and Karatu.

The Zinjanthropus skull was discovered by anthropologist Dr Mary Leakey on July 17, 1959 at Olduvai Gorge, an archaeological site found within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).

Dr Mary Leakey (born in 1913) was a British paleoanthropologist who discovered the first fossilized Proconsul skull, an extinct ape now believed to be among human ancestors.

In 1959 Dr Leakey discovered the robust Zinjanthropus skull at Olduvai Gorge and for much of her career, spanning more than 50 years in Tanzania; she worked alongside her husband, Dr Louis Leakey, at the archaeological site, where they also uncovered tools and fossils of ancient hominines.

Ngorongoro Conservation was split from Serengeti National Park in 1959, becoming a multiple land use separate entity. It is believed that all mankind originated from the area before spreading out around the globe.