Monthly Archives: April 2010

First Wild Elephant Sighting

I am in the Mpala Research Library. Again, this place is right out of a movie. I expect Robert Redford or Ben Kingsley to walk around the corner with jodpers and a machete. The swallows are chirping and swooping right outside the window. Maybe they’re showing off for the ornithologist who is staying here. I […]

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We divided the luggage into mushable and non-mushable piles, jammed the mushables into the back of the van and headed north with Komande, me, Bill, Simon, Paul Watene, Chris, and Mulu mushed into our seats. Komande drove us through some of the most amazing countryside, punctuated every few miles with small towns, some of which […]

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Elephant Orphanage

I am in a van, avoiding the rain at the National Museum which has the only functioning wireless connection around. Apparently a Japanese fishing trawler ripped up the fibroptic cable in the middle of the Atlantic, and the whole country lost internet service for two days. This sounds a little overblown and I admit I […]

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National Museum of Kenya

The Museum was started in 1910 by the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society as a place for British colonial scientists and naturalists to store, study, and conserve collections and specimens. When Kenya gained independence in 1963, the institution became the National Museum of Kenya and has since expanded to manage 19 Museums across […]

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Jambo Nairobi!

The past few days are a blur. After 30 hours of travel, the bulk of which included meandering deliriously around the Johannesburg Airport, we finally made it to Nairobi. Kathleen’s old friends, Joseph and his son Justus met us at the airport and drove us to the United Kenya Club conveniently located between the National […]

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Two more flights to go

We finally made it to the airport after a series of delayed and rescheduled flights. The philadadelphia airport was buzzing with high school students in varying hues of swishy nylon going back home after the Penn Relays. A very lucky and well-behaved group on our plane to Atlanta were heading back to Barbados. So we’re […]

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Hurry Up and Wait

We still don’t know if the new cloud of volcanic ash is going to affect our flights in and out of Amsterdam later today. We’ve been monitoring the flight status but it’s all still up in the air! All my clothes, boots, and equipment are still in piles. I can only commit to packing under […]

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Eyjafjallajoekull Volcano

“Are you allergic to eggs?” she asked as she reached into the mini-fridge. When someone asks a question as specific as that, I am determined to come up with the answer as honestly and dramatically as possible. “Uh…” I searched my memory for any possible egg-related sniffling. “No,” I said, conclusively. I was not allergic […]

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The Kenya Team

The blog posts in the “Kenya” category document Kathleen Ryan’s research project on the Laikipia Plateau of Kenya from April 21 through May 11, 2010. After visiting the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi, we move on to Laikipia where Dr. Ryan begins excavation of five possible sites. One site will be a Later Stone […]

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Eastern Africa is famous for its rich archaeological and paleontological sites as well as an abundance of wildlife and scenic beauty. It is now generally agreed among researchers that Kenya, and the eastern African region in general, form the “cradle of humankind.” It was in this region that the first steps were taken towards the […]

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  • Penn Museum

Beneath the Surface at the Penn Museum