1920’s East Africa– “FOSSILS IN THE RIFT – before Louis Leakey”
Professor J. W. Gregory’s 1921 volume: The Rift Valleys and Geology of East Africa, was reviewed in the March 18, 1922 issue of The Leader of British East Africa. For those who lived in Kenya Colony but had taken their land and that of neighboring Tanganyika (formerly German East Africa) for granted, the publication was guaranteed to be eye-opening.
Besides discussing the volcanic activity of the region including Mount Kenya and Mount Kilima Njaro, Professor Gregory expounds on the (at least) fifteen glaciers that grew and marked Mt. Kenya in its past. “The peak was once covered by an ice-cap from which glaciers flowed outward and descended about 5,000 ft lower than the existing glaciers, which end at between 14,000 and 15,000 feet. The evidence is clear that the ice once extended on Kenya about 5000 ft below its present limit” as evidenced by the different plant fauna of the upper elevations where isolation allowed them to evolve into “different species on different mountains.” The crater of Kenya itself was probably at least 3000 ft. above the present summit.
Another fascination portion of the book dealt with “Relics of Prehistoric Man.” Professor Gregory found “obsidian flakes of a Neolithic type.” Some came from the Athi plains but the best were found on the Rift Valley floor “from an ancient camp beside the Gilgil River.” A settler named Harrison had, at one time, collected some Paleolithic axes which he loaned to the Nairobi museum. However, he refused to disclose the find’s location after learning that such items were considered valuable. Unfortunately for science, Harrison “subsequently went to war and was killed, the secret of the locality whence the implements were derived perishing with him.”
More important discoveries would have to wait for Louis Leakey.
Headline and quotes taken from The Leader of British East Africa, March 18, 1922.
By the way, The Crocodile’s Last Embrace received a starred review by Publishers’ Weekly who called it “rip-roaring.” Romantic Times gave it 4 Stars and called it “Enormously fun” and Library Journal’s starred review stated “Do not miss this one.”
And Mark of the Lion is now available in the U.K. via Piatkus Books. Stalking Ivory and The Serpent’s Daughter will soon follow.
Next week: More Nairobi news:
SPEAKING OF NEWS!
*****Piatkus UK is offering Mark of the Lion and Stalking Ivory in the UK. Brand new covers! The Serpent’s Daughter will follow in January.********* http://www.piatkus.co.uk/Genre/Crime-and-Thriller
NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, Treasure of the Golden Cheetah and THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda and on facebook to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Suzanne-Arruda-Mystery-Writer/165784103431688?ref=ts