Olduvai Gorge Panorama

Paleoanthropological Research at
Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

Jackson Njau, faculty member in the Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University and a Research Scientist of the Stone Age Institute and the CRAFT Research Center, has been working at Olduvai Gorge for two decades. He is principal curator at the Museum of National Natural History in Arusha, Tanzania and paleoanthropologist with the ongoing Olduvai Landscape Paleoanthropology Project. He also co-directs the Tanzanian International Paleoanthropological Research Project (TIPRP) with Dr. Leslea Hlusko of the University of California, Berkeley.

With interests in ecological influences on human evolution, he has conducted actualistic studies, taphonomical and archaeological research in Tanzania since 1994. His research on the natural history and feeding behavior of crocodiles has provided insight into our understanding of the environments in which early hominins evolved. His work in Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Eyasi has yielded useful information on how ecological pressure, such as predation imparted by ancient crocodiles and large mammalian carnivores, influenced hominins behaviors in land use and shaped their activity-patterns. This condition played an important role in the evolution of our early stone tool-using ancestors. His specialties include taphonomy, vertebrate paleontology, and Palaeolithic archaeology.

Current research at Olduvai includes excavation at various sites in the Gorge which will help establish linkages with the geology which has been further revealed by the research of the Olduvai Gorge Coring Project as well as providing valuable new data that will allow researchers to better understand our ancestors who lived in this area.

Visit our Photo Gallery or our Video Gallery to see images of life and research at Olduvai Gorge.

Jackson Njau at Zinj site at OlduvaiJackson Njau and Jim Brophy invsitigating geology at Olduvai

Left: Jackson Njau observes a fossil bone at the Zinjanthropus site. Right: Jackson Njau and James Brophy investigate geological details of the Bed I tuff at Olduvai Gorge.