Evolutionary Anthropology has just published a news bit introducing a brand new paleonanthropology group, dubbed the East African Association for Paleoanthropology and Paleontology (EAAPP). The synopsis is written by Kenyan academic Emma Mbua, Ethiopian academic Zeresenay Alemseged (who now works a stone’s throw away, from where I live) and American academic René Bobe from the Unviersity of Georgia. They reported that the EAPP has agreed to:
- hold discussions on how paleontological research can help local communities build ownership, involvement and benefit from research conducted on their lands. This is a critical point that many paleontologists and archaeologists neglect — or think they covered.
- formulation of policies and strategies to efficiently conserve and make fossils available to the public.
- train curatorial staff, technicians, and scientists — which will accelerate the professional infrastructure
Aside from the authors, I see some familiar faces in the group photo, like a Leakey. But I’m even more surprised some big names aren’t photographed. Were they invited? I hope they were. With all the optimistic intentions of this group, I really hope the EAAPP isn’t some sort of exclusive club… One that picks and chooses projects and academics they deem worthy of being in the coalition of the willing.
Aside from this issue, I’m very intrigued about this new association. I think it will bring together academics and projects that have been operating separately. Furthermore, such an organization will build African science, which is a fundamentally positive thing.
- Mbua, E., Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R. (2008). A new association for East African paleoanthropology and paleontology. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews, 17(3), 123-124. DOI: 10.1002/evan.20178