From “The Flintstones” to Modern Man:
How a sharp flint became a tool and transformed us into Homo Sapiens.
I remember visiting a place called the Olduvai Gorge with my parents in Kenya where a Doctor Louis Leakey, a paleoanthropologist and archaeologist, with his wife Mary were making groundbreaking fossil discoveries. You could drive up there in a cloud of dust, jump out of the car and converse with him about their finds!
The New Yorker magazine cartoon by Gregory
In 1959 Mary discovered a fossilized scull which she called “Our Man”, and became “Dear Boy” and “Zinj.” In 1960 it was dated 1.75 million years. The world was stunned. Zinj was far older than anyone had imagined. Scientists swarmed to Africa and the hunt for the ancestry of man was on!
Louis Leakey died in 1972, but in 1978 Mary Leakey found a trail of clear ancient hominid footprints of two adults and a child – some 3.5 million years old – impressed and preserved in volcanic ash from a site in Tanzania called Laetoli. They belonged to a new hominid species, best represented by the 3.2 million-year-old Lucy skeleton, which was found at Hadar, Ethiopia, by Donald Johanson.
Remains of “Lucy” (Australopithecus) – 3.2 millions years old.
The British comedy team Armstrong and Miller have done hilarious stone age sketches under the tile “The Origin of…”, my favorite one:
“The Origin of Small Talk” (click on link)
The stone age was part of my childhood not just because of our years in Kenya but also because of our favorite TV series: “The Flintstones”, the brilliant depiction of the modern world set in the stone age! All the modern gadgets were there: the vacuum cleaner was a mini elephant, the record player a long beaked bird, the cars propelled by foot movement and so on. It was whimsical, funny and totally enchanting!
The Lobster Lawnmower from “The Flintstones”
Yabba Dabba Doo!