Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Paleoenvironments "Lucy" and Ice Cream.

Now, one may ask ones self what exactly these three things mentioned in the title of this post have to do with one another. A paleoenvironment is a past environment reconstructed to put into perspective our world climate and also to put into context past hominids like "Lucy". "Lucy" of course is the famous Australopithocene discovered in 1973, and remains one of the most complete hominin skeletons discovered, and ice cream is a delicious frozen treat often best served with pie (in this viewers humble opinion, warm apple pie).
Our most recent class was on reconstructing ancient environments. This was taught by Raymond Bonnefille, and although it was less field trip intensive than our other classes, we none the less learned a great deal. Although it is a very difficult field to study and reconstruction of past climates is not always straight forward, Raymond was able to present the course with style and ease, which is saying something considering she is french the vast majority of her work is in french
We were were lucky enough to have a surprise visit from Dr. Donald Johanson recently, and he was a very informative person to talk to. He discovered "Lucy" at Hadar, Ethiopia in the 1970s. It is of special importance, due to the fact that he and Richard have not spoken in many years, due to academic disagreements and the like, and have been able to put these aside here. It really goes to show that the future of the field and a place like this, are to precious to let these disputes get in the way of either one. We were really quite fortunate to have him speak to hear briefly about the discovery and his work. Apparently, Lucy got her name because the Beatles were playing on the radio at Hadar, and "Lucy in the sky with diamonds" came on, the name was suggested and it stuck.
Lastly, but most certainly not least, is the ice cream. Richard surprised us when he returned from Nairobi, with homemade (and when I say this, I mean Richard Leaky made, for he is an excellent cook) chocolate ice cream. We have been extremely lucky with the food here. It has been delicious and wonderful in every sense, but especially when Richard is in the kitchen cooking. He can often be found there causing delicious smells to drift throughout camp. Interestingly enough, as I was just reciently writing about Ice cream, I was drawn away from the computer and surprised to find a late dessert waiting in the mess hall. Meave had baked us steamed pudding, with strawberry jam. This was like a delicious bunt cake fresh out of the oven and as tasty as any other cake I have ever eaten.
So here I am, having the time of my life, making good friends and eating unbelievably delicious food. I can imagine nowhere I would rather be.

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