Oldupai Gorge

Oldupai Gorge (originally misnamed Olduvai) is the most famous archaeological site in East Africa and essential human origins and human evolution human evolution center.

Laetoli near Olduvai west of Ngorongoro Crater the hominid footprints are preserved in volcanic rock dated 3.6 million years old and represent some of the earliest signs of mankind in the world. Three separate tracks of a small brained upright walking early hominid. Australopithecus afarensis a creature about 1.2 to 1.4 meters high were found. Imprints of these are displayed in Oldupai museum.

More advanced descendants of Laetoli hominids were found further north buried in the layers of 100 meters deep Oldupai Gorge. Excavations mainly by the archaeologist Louis and Mary Leakey yielded four different kinds of hominid showing gradual increases in brain size and in the complexity of their stone tools. The first skull of Zinjanthropus commonly known as ‘Nutcracker Man’ who lived about 1.7 million years ago discovered. Most important find include Homo habilis, Zinjathropus and Laetoli footprints.

Excavation sites have been preserved for public viewing and work continues during the dry seasons coordinated by the Department of Antiquities. At the top of the Gorge there is small museum a sheltered area used for lectures and talks, toilets and museum.
Thus Oldupai and Laetoli make Ngorongoro Conservation Area an important place in the world for the study of human origins and human evolution.