National Museum and the Zoo

Lucy !Homo Sapiens Skull - 160,000 years oldlion-zoo.JPG

On Sunday I revisited the National Museum. Modern humans – Homo Sapiens evolved in Ethiopia. The two oldest fossils of modern man with the same size brain and similar skull structure were found in the Rift Valley in Ethiopia. Homo Sapiens-Itacus was discovered in the Aras region in the north. An even older skull of modern man is dated at 200,000 years ago from the lower Omo valley. All other fossils found anywhere else in the world of modern man date from the earliest 40-50,000 years ago. This means that man migrated from Ethiopia to the rest of the world. Even other sites in Africa are younger than these dates – 80,000 years in South Africa.

Lucy is not the same species but a much older hominid who walked upright and is more similar to hominids than apes. She lived nearly 5 million years ago in Ethiopia. For some reason the Rift valley and “Climate Change” – the change from forest to savanna –  drove the evolution of hominids in this area.

The National Museum also has a great display of local art and a survey of ethnic clothes and customs. Having lived here now for a month I found this revisit very interesting. There was also a display of modern artists for sale. I particularly liked the pictures of what clearly were Muslim women which had intricate patterns and occasional human forms ( though banned in Islam). I would have bought one of these pictures if I could have carried it back – price was not cheap – but not exaggerated – 300 euro or so.

Afterwards I went to the Zoo Park. The park was full – being a Sunday- and consisted mainly of a central cage area for Ethiopian lions. I think there were at least 12 adult pairs – 24 total, in cages way too small for them. They managed to maintain a majesty despite the conditions and the gawping crowds. They have managed to breed baby lions and we saw two young lions kept apart. Taking photos was banned unless you paid 20 Birt. I managed to take just one with my mobile before being told off by the official photographer. All in all I ended up feeling very sorry for these majestic animals caged up in this way. The lions are beautiful – the males with a black mane. I think they are different to the normal African lions.

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