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La Cotte de St Brelade. Image credit Man vyi. Source Wikipedia

Sara Palmer, writing for BBC News Jersey earlier this month, reports that –
 
Jersey’s rich ice age history is being used in an attempt to attract more tourists to the island.
 
“Jersey has a story to tell about human evolution relevant across Europe and the wider world,” according to Dr Matt Pope, who is leading an archaeological team. Previous work has uncovered hunting sites and submerged ice age landscapes ranging from the earliest occupation by Neanderthals more than 250,000 years ago, to the arrival of the first modern humans.
 
The creation of ice age walking trails around the island’s coast has been done by Jersey Heritage in partnership with the archaeological team, Societe Jersiaise and the National Trust for Jersey. It has been supported by a £199,000 grant from the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) to deliver Ice Age Island. Peter Funk, chairman of the TDF panel, said: “There is a huge level of interest in archaeological discovery and Jersey has a unique story to tell which we believe will be an integral part of Jersey’s tourism offering in the years to come.”
 
Jersey has an exceptionally rich record for the Stone Age considering the small size of its land mass. The site of La Cotte de St Brelade contains more Neanderthal artefacts than the rest of the British Isles put together and ranks as one of the world’s richest Stone Age localities.
 
Full article here.

Mary Leakey. Source Wikipedia. Image credit National Institutes of Health

Mary Leakey (6 February 1913 – 9 December 1996) would have been 100 last Wednesday. She spent a great deal of her life at Olduvai Gorge in eastern Africa with her husband Louis. Olduvai Gorge is seen as the cradle of humanity, though there would be some who would disagree with that. As far as evolution goes however you’ve got to start somewhere. It is still good though to recognise a woman who actually began as a so-called amateur and ended up being an expert in her subject (her son still continues the family tradition).
 
So, to all explorers and archaeologists who work ‘in the field’ a toast, and a belated happy birthday to Mary Leakey.
 
More on Mary Leakey here.
 

Origin of Our Species by Chris Stringer

In this morning’s BBC Radio 4 The Life Scientific series Jim Al-Khalili meets leading paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer to find who our ancestors were.

As a post graduate Chris went on a road trip with a difference, driving round Europe in an old Morris Minor measuring Neanderthal skulls. After being thrown out of several countries, the results of his analysis led to a controversial theory which ran counter to what many people thought at the time. Chris suggested that our most recent relative originated in Africa. He also reveals how genetics has transformed his work and talks about his own unconventional origins.

That there were cannibals in Somerset is one of the more surprising findings of Chris’ work on early man in Britain and Jim discovers what it’s like to work on an archaeological dig.

Producer: Geraldine Fitzgerald.

Listen Again here.
 
 

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