Afar is known all over the world as a cradle human history. Its collection of flora and fauna and ancient stone made hand tools show prehistoric and cultural evolution of man at his earliest for a visitor longing to see the root of humanity.

The first geological exploration of the Hadar area had been done by Maurice Taieb. He apparently found Hadar in December 1970 following one of the tributaries of the Ledi River that originates in the highlands north of Bati.

Lower Valley of the Awash River
This area has been registered as a world heritage by UNESCO for its ancient collection of floral and fauna remains. Famed for being Lucy’s origin, Hadar is a home for various fossils of Australopithecus afarensis having an estimated age of 3 to 3.4 mil yrs.

Hadar is located 150 km from a town called Semera. However, if you are planning to start your journey from Eli Wuha, a town to the North of Hadar, your journey will only be 27 km.

Lucy (Dinknesh in her Amharic name)
In the mid 1960’s a certain international Afar Research expedition had commenced digging and archeological researches around the river side of Awash 27 km to the south of the town Eli Wuha where they found various fossils at Hadar.

Dr. Donald Johanson’s 1974 discovered Lucy by name the prominent one with 3.2 million years of age.  The name Lucy was inspired by the song ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ by the Beatles which happened to be playing on the radio at base camp.

Aramis, this site is found in Gewane where remains of Australopithecus and Ardipithecus (Ardipithecus ramidus) have been found.

Studies have uncovered evidence of a rich fossil flora and fauna including many Canthium seeds. Besides, fossils of medium sized colobus monkeys and kudus suggest that prehistoric Aramis may have been wet closed and wooded.

In 1992 and 1993 a team led by Tim white found in total 17 specimens of hominid fossils at Aramis. These fossils were dated at 4.4 million years 500,000 years earlier than the oldest afarnesis fossils found in the eastern middle Awash.

This discovery was published on the front page of New York Times and later a new genus and species of hominids was proposed Ardipithicus ramidus (4.4mil yrs).

Bodo Cranium
The Bodo cranium has been dated to 600,000 years before the present and is one of the most complete skulls found from the period in Africa to date. Its estimated age places it as contemporary of Homo erectus. However their combinations of features position it as a transitional fossil with Homo erectus.

It shares a board massive face (its face is the largest among all fossil hominids). The more modern features that it exhibits include a brain capacity (estimated at 1250 cc) that falls within the range of Homo sapiens, the shape of the nasal bones.

Hand axes and cleavers along with animal bones were found at the site suggesting that bodo butchered animals. Interestingly, the Bodo cranium has cut marks on it.

Come to Afar! Afar is not really afar.

Eskinder Hailu - Manager, Highway Tours

Eskinder Hailu
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