Adventures in the Bone Trade: The Race to Discover Human Ancestors in Ethiopia’s Afar Depression

In the trenches of anthropology, you keep your head down: You don’t want to overlook anything, and you don’t want to offer a colleague a tempting target. So Jon Kalb discovered early in his 30 years studying the Afar Depression of Ethiopia, first as a geologist, then as an organizer and participant in the expeditions that found traces of some of the earliest ancestors of modern humans: Lucy, the First Family, Bodo Man, the Aramis Skeleton and the Buri Skull. The “bone wars” among rival teams of scientists were hardly less savage than the armed conflicts that took place around them, and Kalb’s fascinating, first-person account makes a very good read, and provides insight into the human politics of science and the science of human development.
Adventures in the Bone Trade: The Race to Discover Human Ancestors in Ethiopia’s Afar Depression

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