The fifth EAS Public Lecture of the year in a monthly series entitled ‘A Six Million Year Hominid Evolutionary Record in Ethiopia’ was held on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at the Auditorium of Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT), Addis Ababa University. The Public Lecture was given by Dr. Birhane Asfaw, a distinguished Paleoanthropologist and Founding Fellow of EAS. Prof. Gezahegn Yirgu, Founding Fellow and former Secretary of the Natural Science Working Group of EAS, chaired the Public Lecture.
The themes of the Public Lecture revolved around the historical overview of Paleoanthropology (in Ethiopia)—the multidisciplinary branch of science uniting the many diverse fields that contribute to the understanding of the evolution and prehistory of human beings, Homo sapiens, and their extinct relatives—including the challenges encountered in the research and its present stance in Ethiopia.
The discovery of fossil that hinted the existence of evidence of human evolution in Ethiopia for the first time dates back to more than seventy years. The study of Paleoanthropology extensively began in Ethiopia 40 years behind other African countries, such as Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. However, its present stance is by far better and complete in comparison with the aforementioned countries.
Along the Great East Africa Rift Valley, that crosses Ethiopia from North EAS to South, from Afar to Lake Turkana, many fossils and tools made of stones of hominids have been discovered. In the picture aided presentation, Dr Birhane covered a six million years evolution of 11 variations of hominids discovered in Ethiopia. The focus of the presentation was on the physique (physical description) and life style of hominids.
Concluding his presentation, Dr Birhane underscored that the hominids lived in almost all places of Ethiopia. This marked the Country as incomparable sources of culture and evolution of prehistory human beings.
The presentation triggered the audience for two-rounds of question and answer sessions.
More than 170 individuals drawn from governmental and non-governmental offices, academics working in Addis Ababa University, research institutions, university students, high school teachers and students, Fellows of EAS and EtYAS, and members of the general public attended the Public Lecture.