June 24, 2007 – The Olduvai Gorge

The Olduvai Gorge

This is Jim Tanis calling from Serengeti. Yesterday we left the Ngorongoro Crater Rim and drove to the Oldovai gorge. We visited the museum that overlooked the gorge, it was very interesting.

We drove from there on to the Serengeti and we saw the section of the Serengeti with


Interesting facts about the Olduvai Gorge

The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge is commonly referred to as "The Cradle of Mankind." It is a steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley, which stretches along eastern Africa. Olduvai is in the eastern Serengeti Plains in northern Tanzania and is about 30 miles long. The gorge is named after the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant Sansevieria ehrenbergil, commonly called Oldupaai.

It is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world and has been instrumental in furthering understanding of early human evolution. Excavation work there was pioneered by Louis and Mary Leakey in the 1950s and is continued today by their family. Millions of years ago, the site was that of a large lake, the shores of which were covered with successive deposits of volcanic ash. Around 500,000 years ago seismic activity diverted a nearby stream which began to cut down into the sediments, revealing seven main layers in the walls of the gorge.

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