The Olduvai Gorge Museum, largest Human History museum in the African continent is set for grand, official opening by end next week. Located inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Northern Tanzania, the museum is located adjacent to the archaeological site where thefirst species hominid Zinjanthropus boisei Skull was discovered by Dr. Mary Leakey on July 17, 1959 in Olduvai Gorge.
The museum to be the largest museum of its kind in Africa region will open for public and scientific advancements of the early man history, reports from Ngorongoro said.
It has built at the remote Olduvai Gorge site within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) and covers both the Olduvai and Laetoli archaeological sites where the skull and footprints of the first human being who lived millions of years were discovered. Olduvai Gorge Museum is as well, comprises of five large buildings housing the historical data room, laboratories, a restaurant and visitors’ hall. The museum overlooks the legendary gorge which is believed to have been a lake, many years ago.
The discovery of skull of the early man at Olduvai Gorge together with the 3.6 million years oldest footprints at Laetoli had attractedscientists from across the world to research the origin of man in the area. Olduvai Gorge is now known as The Cradle of Mankind while Laetoli holds the only undisputable evidence for Human Bipedalism. British archeologists, Dr. Louis Leakey and his wife Mary, who were working in Kenya, discovered a humanoid skull with huge teeth that they named Zinjanthropus.
The excellent condition of the skull allowed scientists to date the beginnings of mankind to about two million years ago and to verify that human evolution began not in Asia, as previously thought, but in Africa. In keeping with the significance of this information, Olduvai Gorge is now known as “The Cradle of Mankind.”
Zinjathropus was later named Australopithecus Boisei, after Charles Boise who funded the Leakeys’ research. Two decades later, hominid footprints were found at Laetoli, south of Olduvai, and were dated to be older than 3.5 to 4 million years.
The Olduvai Gorge, which is located some 250 kilometers west of northern Tanzania’s tourist hub of Arusha and roughly between the Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti national park, attracts about 60,000 visitors a year, most of them researchers and students from across the world.
Known as the “Last Garden of Eden,” Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) in northern Tanzania’s tourist circuit has been seriously encroached by nomadic Maasai herdsmen looking for green livestock pastures inside the wildlife-populated and conserved land.
NCA was established in 1959 and was the working home for its founder and famous German zoologist, Dr. Bernhard Grzimeck, and his son Michael who together filmed the entire and modern conservation area and produced the thrilling wildlife film and a book “Serengeti Shall Never Die.”
The area supports high densities of wildlife throughout the year and contains the most visible population of the remaining black rhino in Tanzania. The NCA has over 25,000 large mammal including the black rhinos, elephants, wildebeests, hippos, zebras, giraffes, buffaloes, gazelles, and lions.
The crater is steep, 600 meters in depth, made by high natural walls that survived the volcano’s subsidence or caldera. It covers 264 square kilometers, making it one of the largest, intact, and unflooded calderas in the world.