Thursday, September 29, 2005

Homo Florensis and other amazing things

Went to an Anthro. department lecture at USF tonight given by Dr. Peter Brown, who identified homo florensis earlier this year in Flores, Indonesia. It was a fascinating lecture! I could go on and on about it for hours. The lecture lasted about an hour and half and there were probably three or four dozen people who stood through the entire thing because there were no chairs left... There were easily 400 people in attendance. They should have held it in a larger auditorium instead of the Student Union Ballroom... but I digress. Dr. Brown is an excellent lecturer, very funny and passionate about his work, and if you get an opportunity to see him speak at another university or organization, I highly recommend going! It was a lovely evening... He told us a lot of info that hasn't been published yet. They've discovered a lot of new info in the last several months, and now have 7 - 9 individuals at the Liang Boa cave site in Flores. He said the cave was continually inhabited by homo florensis and then later modern humans for the last 94,000 years up until the last several thousand years. They have a lot of history to cover, and unfortunately for thoroughness and preserving information, the site director bypassed all the modern human remains and artifacts and they went 12 meters down through roughly 20,000 years of deposition in 2 months of excavations. Their original goal was to find out info on the earliest modern humans or human ancestors who lived in Indonesia, their main goal being to hypothesize how and exactly when modern humans reached Australia... What they found was something completely different, as we all now know...

But as I said, I could go on for hours!! I have lots of notes, and I'll answer questions if I can.

I saw a friend from high school, Laura, there. She graduated the same year I did and has had the same kind of issues wadding through USF as I have so we commiserate with each other on that level. She's thinking of majoring in Anthropology now, thanks to a Biological Anthro class that she's taking right now and finding particularly inspiring. She asked why I was there. I told her about the Archaeology class I'm in and that I have a family member in the field up in the Carolinas. I told her about the Borough House too and all that's going on there... I think if there are digs there in the next few years, there will be a few volunteers from Florida helping out... Me, Laura, and Laura's friend Liz, who was also at the lecture, is seriously into archaeology, is an anthro major, and is looking for somewhere to dig next summer. I promised to keep them both informed. Very exciting stuff!!

Other cool things that have happened this week:

I saw 4 wild peacocks looking for food along Dale Mabry Hwy in Carrollwood this afternoon, during rush hour. They were all young males (they had a peacock's bright coloring, but their tail feathers had not completely developed yet).

On Monday, I noticed that they just opened a Whataburger on Hillsborough Avenue... It's the first one I've seen in Florida, and although I have no plans to go there, I think it's kinda cool that a place I had previously only heard of on "King of the Hill" is now in town.

Also on Monday, I saw a doe grazing in the planned community "Westchase." It was about 200 feet in from Sheldon Road, a fairly busy four-lane road in the western part of Hillsborough County, near a man-made pond in a clearing on the other side of a densely wooded area from the street. She was beautiful, a grayish kind of bown and white... She perked her head up for a second when I looked over at her and then went back to munching on grass. It was really cool...

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