Relics of Namiri Plains: East African Fossils

By Asilia Africa News | 27 March 2019

By Britta Foulis – Content Marketing Manager

Relics of Namiri Plains

Namiri Plainshas officially relaunched. The brand new camp is situated in the semi-arid and remote eastern Serengeti, set along the Ngare Nanyuki River – an area that offers an uncrowded experience.

Namiri Plains’ location is close to one of the most important and famous archaeological sites in the world, “The Cradle of Mankind“, known as Olduvai Gorge. It holds one of the most abundant and well-preserved records of paleontological and archaeological findings that support the study of human evolution. The rich history of the area formed part of the design inspiration for the new camp, from the calcrete rock used to construct the camp walls to the addition of an information centre.

The Cradle Of Mankind

The Cradle of Mankind holds the oldest evidence of mankind’s evolution and it is not far from Namiri Plains.

The Olduvai Gorge is a famous site located within the Great Rift Valley, it is located between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. The name Olduvai Gorge is actually a misspelling of Oldupai, which is a Maasai word for a wild plant that grows in the area. What makes this site so special is the fact that in 1959, Mary Leakey, a British paleoanthropologist, discovered fossilised parts of a skull and upper teeth of a type of hominin (direct ancestors of humans) that had not been previously identified. Mary and her husband, Louis Leakey, spent the next several weeks uncovering over 400 different pieces of an almost complete skull and were able to classify their find as an entirely new category of hominin, the Zinjanthropus boisei. Something even more interesting about their discovery was that this hominin’s existence could be dated back 1.75 million years ago – making it the oldest hominin discovery to have ever been made, further substantiating claims that the first humans originally evolved in Africa.

Image credit: SciHi Blog

Understanding that this piece of East Africa held immense knowledge and insight into the evolution of the human race, many other archaeological teams were inspired and continued their search for evidence within the area. In 1986, their work paid off, and a team of Tanzanian and American archaeologists discovered what has been described as the biggest and most significant finding to ever have been made. 302 bone fragments and teeth belonging to a young adult female were uncovered, and allowed for this species’ full body proportions to be determined. This revealed that the Homo habilis was, in fact, more ape-like than previously thought.

Images credits: SciHi Blog & Explorers Emporium, Inc

Olduvai Gorge is one of the most important fossil sites in the world. Because of this, it forms part of a World Heritage Site and continues to reveal an immense amount of information regarding our past, insights into our hominin ancestors, and a way to understand how many of these species used to live. You can read more about this unique site here.

Olduvai Gorge’s Giraffes

Olduvai Gorge is not only laden with hominin fossils, but there is also an incredible number of animal fossils that have been uncovered in this area, too. Elephant species (which have since become extinct), buffalo, antelope, rhino, and giraffe, are among some of the species that have left fossils behind which were discovered in this area. While staying at Namiri Plains, you have the chance to visit a unique sight, a fossilised giraffe skull which was discovered only recently by one of our guides. Please speak to your guide or the camp manager to arrange a visit to view this skull.

The fossilised giraffe skull which can be viewed. Image credit: Pietro Luraschi

Join Us On Safari At Namiri Plains

With your closest neighbour over an hour’s drive away, you may be excused for thinking that you have the plains all to yourself. The camp is elegant, contemporary and blissfully comfortable. Let us take you on a memorable Serengeti safari.

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