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May 16 , 2008

Adventures in the Bone Trade

The Race to Discover Human Ancestors in Ethiopia’s Afar Depression


As co-founder of the expedition that discovered Lucy, and leader of most of the first site-surveys in the Afar Depression in Ethiopia, Jon Kalb has years of experience with the region, its politics, and the scientists involved in the excavations. A participant himself in the "bone wars" that accompanied these discoveries, Kalb recounts the cutthroat competition and back stabbing that were often part of the media-highlighted race to find the oldest hominid fossil. He weaves this story in the rich fabric of Ethiopian society and politics, the plight of the regions peoples, and the international maneuverings for control of the fossil finds.

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