In May, to link in with our ‘Rocks and Fossils’ topic in Science, we had the honour of welcoming the esteemed Dr René Bobe, Research Affiliate in the School of Anthropology at the University of Oxford, and co-director of the Paleo-Primate Project at Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique.
He kindly gave us a talk all about his work, mainly in Africa, and showed us his fascinating discoveries. Much of his work is carried out in the East African Rift Valley (which is rich in fossils) in Mozambique. Dr Bobe discussed the different phases of evolution, then we passed around several fossilised sea shells, which were followed by a series of skulls. These included a replica of a skull of Homo florensiensis (a tiny hobbit-like species of human discovered in Bali), a skull of the smallest primate in the world, one of a gorilla, and a huge skull of a yeti- like creature called a Gigantopithecus. We compared all these to a human skull. This talk showed us that paleontologists don’t just discover fossils of dinosaurs and shells, but they can teach us great things about how all species have evolved over the centuries.