Thursday, September 24, 2009

EAAPP 2009

So let's go back to August and the second conference that I attended in Tanzania. From August 16-21st the 2nd biannual conference of the East African Association for Palaeoanthropology and Palaeontology (EAAPP) convened.It was a traditional scientific conference with speakers from Canada (us!), the United States, Australia, Japan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa (to name a few). It was great to be able to meet so many interesting and talented researchers in the East African community and to also see again many people I'd met last summer at the Society for Africanist Archaeology meeting in Frankfurt, Germany.

The first morning kicked off with an address by Dr. Richard Leakey. This was one of the many highlights of the conference. It was absolutely thrilling to hear him speak. He pulled no punches and addressed a number of key issues including the division amongst the researchers who currently work at Olduvai Gorge, and the need for evolution to be taught in South African school. His proclamation that "fossils are not theory, fossils are fact" drew a hearty round of applause.

My supervisor, myself, and her three other students all presented at EAAPP, and as with the Zinj conference, our research program was well received. I must admit I love giving conference presentations. There is just something about standing up there and putting yourself and your research out there.

The absolute highlight of the conference was the trip out to Olduvai Gorge. It's probably sacreligious to say this but for anthropologists in general going to Olduvai is like making pilgrimage to Mecca. We were given a guided tour of both the FLK Zinj(where Dr. Mary Leakey found Zinjanthropus/Paranthropus boisei) and FLK NN site.

Although, on further reflection, discussing what it means to be an Edmontonian and Canadian while arguing about the validity of the SASES system over drinks with my buddy Ben, Dr. Ambrose, and Dr. Conard was pretty special too.

Not very good at this blog thing.

Ok so I started this blog as I felt I wasn't able to really talk about my research and my travels very well using the limited formats of Facebook and Twitter. Don't get me wrong, I love trying to think of clever things to say in 140 characters or less but I love even more the idea of integrating text with video or photos. The problem is me. I could give you a number of excuses but ultimately it comes down to me choosing to do other things. I do want to have a blog though but feel like I'm not doing it justice unless I post regularly. So here's the plan: regular weekly posts. I'm thinking Thursdays as I usually don't have anything going on. I'm already starting to sketch out the next few posts as I figure if I can stay a week ahead then it will be easier to make a routine out of it. If you could do me the favour of counting this as my first official Thursday post I'd really appreciate it ; )