Sunday, March 20, 2011

Preparing to leave, but not really wanting to.

As I find myself hoping more and more that we can stay longer, our departure seems to be approaching faster and faster. It is less than a week now untill we leave TBI and it seems that we only just arrived. Time has moved faster for me here than anywhere else previously. The experience has been, to say the least an exceptional one. We have been very fortunate in our stay here. We are in the middle of a semi-desert, little visible foe miles other than sand, sparse vegetation and the most durable and resourceful people imaginable and yet here we sleep in comfortable beds. Here we have no shortage of pure running water. Here we are served three solid meals a day, most of which have been the most delicious and satisfying meals I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Rice. Ugali. Ox tail stew. Grilled chicken. Tilapia grilled and baked. Grilled thinly sliced steak with a creamy pepper sauce, green beans and mashed potatoes. Fresh fruit including pineapple, mango, papaya, and peaches. Steamed pudding with jelly, baked apple crisp and chocolate ice cream. Chocolate ice cream. Once more for effect, Chocolate ice cream! In the middle of the desert! Need I say more?
It has not just been about food. Our courses have been fantastic. The one that we are currently in, "Invertebrate Paleontology of the Turkana Basin" is another valuable learning experience. We have had a detailed introduction to fossil identification and morphology (shape). Teeth, as they are the most durable part of the body, are invaluable for identifying species and species change over time and we have learned a great deal about their morphology and identification. I have had a great time going out into the field and being able to identify a fragment of a fossil, simply by observing its teeth. I recently discovered the buried jaw of an enormous herbivore. Unfortunately we weren't able to excivate, but you could see that it was either a hippo or a pig, that it was a juvinile, with its teeth still deep in the bone, and that it was enormous. It is simple identifications like these that allow for some of the most important identifications of finds. This course has really given me an invaluable understanding of fossils, and the nature of fossil collection and identification. It is not over yet though, and I look forward to excavations next week. We leave on Saturday, so I will deffinately get one more post in before we do. Until then, my very best regards from this fantastic place!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful blog entry! We wish you could stay longer, too :)