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Monday, June 30, 2008

Paleoanthropologists Consider How to Give Back

A new paleonanthropology group, called the East African Association for Paleoanthropology and Paleontology (EAAPP), has agreed to investigate how local communities can be helped by research conducted on their lands.

One of the stated goals of the EAAPP is "to bring scholars working within this region closer by holding conferences to exchange ideas and report on paleoanthropological research findings, with an emphasis on making East African and foreign scholars working in East Africa aware of each other’s research."

The synopsis of the EAAPP's intent was written by Emma Mbua (Kenya), Zeresenay Alemseged (Ethiopia), and American René Bobe from the University of Georgia. Zeresnay Alemseged discovered the 3.3 million year old girl Selam in Ethiopia.

This ethical turn among paleontologists and archaeologists is extremely welcome. Hopefully the group's ambitions will go beyond simply sharing research results and formulation of policies to conserve fossils and to make them available to the public.

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