News Archives - April 2011

April 2011

Tanzania to build 40bn/- 'Jurassic Park'
Tanzania will construct the world first 'real human history' dome museum to be established in Ngorongoro at the estimated cost of about 40 billion. President Jakaya Kikwete unveiled the plan while officiating the first ever exposure of the historical hominid footprints dating back some 3.6 million years but which had been concealed for preservation underground for over 15 years.

"I have instructed the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority to start working on the project and the government is ready to help them foot the bill," said Mr Kikwete adding that he is not concerned with whatever cost that the project may demand because once completed the the first ever, Jurassic museum is in position to generate billions of foreign exchange through thousands of visitors interested to see real immortalized imprints of the world's first human being.

Early on, the Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Mr Ezekiel Maige said the initial feasilibity study for the proposed Jurassic Museum is already underway but since the project won't be an ordinary one, the partly exposed (3 meter long) section of the 30 meter long early humans tracks will remain under cover until the large museum is completed and opened to the public.

Prof Charles Musiba who heads the re-excavation process said the museum which will actually be a large dome that creates its own weather condition through special machinery and high-tech electronics will need US $ 30 million. But the government is prepared to foot the bill for the construction of the state-of- the art, giant technological 'green house' type of a museum which will be able to regulate its own temperature and weather conditions in order to preserve the footprints and display the marvel to visitors

The partly re-excavation of the set of Hominid track way believed to be close to 4 million years old have been achieved successfully at the geological site of Laetoli some 45 kilometers from Olduvai Gorge in the leeward section of Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority.

"We have just proved to the entire world that footprints of humans who walked the earth some 3.6 million years ago indeed do exist in Tanzania because having been concealed underground for 15 years, there have been speculations that probably the whole thing was hoax," Mr Ezekiel Maige, the Natural Resources and Tourism Minister had commented earlier.

President Jakaya Kikwete had, three years ago, ordered that the pedal imprints of creatures believed to be the world first ever upright-walking human being, to be exposed for both tourism purposes as well as to enable local Tanzanians to witness for themselves this important part of the history of human beings.

The line of hominid fossil footprints was discovered in 1976 by Dr Mary Leakey. The historical footprints are preserved in powdery volcanic ash from what scientists believe to be an eruption of the 20 km distant Sadiman Volcano. Soft rain cemented the 15 cm thick layer bearing the imprints without destroying the prints.

The hominid sole prints were produced by three individuals, one walking in the footprints of the other, making the original tracks difficult to discover. As the tracks lead in the same direction, scientists say they might have been produced by a group.

German anthropologist Ludwig Kohl-Larsen was the first to make scene in Laetoli to look for fossil remains. In 1934 he found the jaw of Australopithecus afarensis.

The NCAA currently attracts 450,000 visitors per year and these are both foreign and domestic tourists making the park, whose main selling point is the Ngorongoro Crater to be the most visited tourist attraction in the country.

Laetoli is a site dated to the Plio-Pleistocene and famous for its hominid footprints, preserved in volcanic ash.

Professor Terry Harrison, a physical anthropologist at New York University, has continued research at the site since the late 1990s.

Already fiberglass based imitations of the Laetoli hominid track way are sold in the United States and Europe at prices starting from US $ 500 per slate, going up.