National Geographic : 1970 May
Late nights, long days TREASURES FROM PRIMEVAL SANDS prompt a late-night session (below) at Koobi Fora. In a shelter of can vas and grass lit by kerosene lanterns, the author and Dr. Epps examine the Australopithecus skull, right center. A nearby tray of primate bones holds a second skull found by an assistant, Mwongela Muoka. Dr. Paul Abell of the University of Rhode Island and Leakey's deputy leader Kamoya Kimeu catalogue animal fossils. At the near end of the table, teeth from Elephas recki, an elephant that lived 21/2 million years ago, lie half framed by the animal's five-foot tusk. Wan light of dawn finds the same four resuming study, sorting and filing (right). As the expedition explored the region, fossils within sight lay in such abundance that the author had to restrain his colleagues from col 722 lecting too many, lest the mapping suffer. a small forest of shaggy doum palms. We pitched our tents in a glade surrounded by the swaying trees. There was a stark beauty about the place, surrounded as it was by rugged volcanic peaks that subtly changed colors as the sun moved across the sky. Here we spent six more weeks, explor ing where possible by Land-Rover, and pushing beyond on foot. By the end of the first season we had found exposed sedimentary deposits along the eastern shore of Lake Rudolf over an area of more than 1,000 square miles. In three months we had traversed it several times and had located dozens of sites at which fossils abound.