Guest Speaker Shares Historical Insight

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P.J. Gelinas Junior High School honors-level eighth-grade Earth Science classes recently had the chance to attend a workshop and discover several interesting facts about extraordinary fossils. 

During the event, Dr. Isaiah Nengo, a paleontologist working at Stony Brook University through the Turkana Basin Institute, shared an exciting discovery he and his team made in Kenya. Beginning with a general explanation of science and paleontology, the story he narrated took the audience through the natural history of the Lake Turkana region and the conditions that led to the evolution of humans. 

The students had an opportunity to hold and examine a detailed replica of the incredibly intact fossil skull, determined by the team to be approximately 13 million years old. The skull provides a very important piece of the evolutionary puzzle leading to modern humans. The young ape was from a time that is not well represented with good hominid fossil specimens.

Dr. Nengo donated a 3-D-printed copy of the fossil skull, which the team named Alesi from a Turkana word meaning “ancestor,” to the school.