CASHP Students Teach at Koobi Fora Field School

CASHP students teach at KFFS
By Kes Schroer
October 10, 2010

This summer, three CASHP students had the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors – literally. Kallista Bernal, Kevin Hatala, and I were invited as instructors on the Koobi Fora Field School, run by Rutgers University and the Kenyan National Museums. Under the guidance of GWU professor Dr. Brian Richmond, we taught and excavated at FwJj14e, a site in Ileret, Kenya that is home to 1.5 million year old footprints. In 2009, Dr. Richmond and his colleagues described the footprints in Science as being essentially like modern human feet in function. This means that 1.5 million years ago, one of our human relatives was walking with modern-like bipedal locomotion.

While uncovering more of the fossil footprint layer, we worked closely with our undergraduate colleagues and spent time instructing them in faunal analysis, taphonomy, biomechanics, and excavation methods. We also had the privilege to host students from the local Kenyan high school on site, encouraging them to become involve with the paleoanthropology in their own backyard. Our summer at Ileret was only the latest chapter in the human history of area that hominins have populated for at least 1.5 million years.