Saturday, July 21, 2012

Osteology Everywhere: I've been doing this too long

I was trying to squeeze a nice picture of the African continent into the Gall-Peters projection, and I suddenly saw something I hadn't seen there before:

The image at right is the fossil, KNM-ER 3228 a 1.9 million year old right pelvic (innominate) bone of Homo (erectus?) from Kenya. Not 100% identical, maybe rotate ER 3228 medially a bit. You know you've been doing it too long when you start to see Osteology Everywhere.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The most wonderful teeth ever seen

I came across an interesting quote from Dr. Robert Broom (quoted in Brain's Hunters or Hunted? monograph), a great South African paleontologist of the first half of the 20th century. He's recounting how he came upon the Kromdraai site, which produced the very first Australopithecus (a.k.a. Paranthropus) robustus fossils:
I went off to the school. About a mile of the way was so rocky that it was impossible to go by car. It was playtime, about 12.30 pm., when I arrived. I saw the principal, and told him what I had come about. Gert was found, and drew from his trouser pocket four of the most wonderful teeth ever seen in the world's history. [emphasis added]
Lots of funny things about that story, most notably that Broom basically took this kid, Gert, from school  to show him where Kromdraai was. And Broom's so excited by these teeth! I don't know the last time I was that excited about anything.