Evolution

Trip Start Nov 19, 2002
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Trip End Dec 13, 2002


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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Saturday, November 23, 2002

Hello.

6AM I'm awake to see the sunrise.  And I'm the last camper up.

Today's a long ride to the Serengeti National Park.  It's amazing how vast the plains are.  Along the road we saw three giraffe.  Millinga stopped so I could get some pictures.  My film ran out so I had to change rolls.  In that short time, the giraffe ran off 300 yards.  In the national parks, animals are protected.  Consequently they are more easily approachable.  Outside the parks, they are more wary.  I was surprised how fast these giraffe took off.

Millinga showed me some plants nearby.  They were bushes with brown bulbs surrounded by long thorns.  He told me there are ants inside.  I laughed.  So he squished one open.  What do you know, a bunch of ants came crawling out.  One reason the giraffe were so close was to feed on these plants.

Our next stop was at a Maasai camp.  They appeared very welcoming.  So I went inside and saw a ceremonial dance.  The men jump up while the women sing.  After wards, I was guided inside one of the huts where goat's milk was cooking.  Then they pop the price - $50 per vehicle. Travel Rule #1 - ALWAYS get the price up front. More important than Immodium AD.  I balked. They countered by asking for a gift instead.  I had none.  Then they asked for my watch.  At that point, I dropped a $5 and walked back to the Land Rover.  All the men of the tribe circled around the vehicle.  I was a little nervous.  Only two days removed from America, by myself, the only white person somewhere out in nowhere.  Finally, Millinga got out and negotiated a price with the chief so we could leave.  He later said that if we didn't pay, the men would have damaged the vehicle.  Somehow, the Maasai are autonomous from the government.  Each tribe has its own chief that rules independently.  He's the law.

The Oldupai Gorge was our next stop.  This is the site of the Leakey's archeological excavations which began in the 1920's.  There are five layers total.  The oldest is charcoal-colored, where they collected the most important artifacts.  The third layer is a thick red clay in which no remains whatsoever were found.  This is most visible along the side of the mound.

The nearby Museum of Oldupai Gorge features some important exhibits of evolution.  One is the Australopithecus Boeisi, an early hominin found by the Leakeys at Oldupai in 1959.  Another is a photo and cast of the footprints discovered by Mary Leakey at Latoli, Tanzania.  Evolutionists theorize these establish a the link between primates and humans.  And lastly, a display of the famous Lucy skull discovered by Donald Johanson at Hadar, Ethiopia in 1974.  A three million year old link between ape and man.

A few things I learned about animals.  There are four kinds of hyaena.  Only the spotted ones are predatory.  Zebras protect themselves by circling the wagons.  They all face outward to cover as much ground as possible.  Also, we ran across some turtles.  Not an animal I was expecting.

Eric
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