This video says about itself:
5 May 2016
This video from the USA says about itself:
Walking With Lucy | California Academy of Sciences
19 September 2013
Appearing next to a full–scale recreation of the famous “Lucy” skeleton (Australopithecus afarensis) in Tusher African Hall, this computer animation compares the distinctive gaits of a chimpanzee, A. afarensis, and modern human, highlighting the trait of upright walking that the latter two share.
From Science Daily:
Australopithecus fossils found east of the Great Rift Valley
New remains demonstrate early hominid’s adaptability
March 24, 2016
Source: Kyoto University
Summary: New fossils from the outskirts of Nairobi reveal that Australopithecus afarensis lived far eastward beyond the Great Rift Valley, demonstrating how adaptable the early hominid species were to new environments.
New fossils from Kenya suggest that an early hominid species — Australopithecus afarensis — lived far eastward beyond the Great Rift Valley and much farther than previously thought. An international team of paleontologists led by Emma Mbua of Mount Kenya University and Masato Nakatsukasa of Kyoto University report findings of fossilized teeth and forearm bone from an adult male and two infant A. afarensis from an exposure eroded by the Kantis River in Ongata-Rongai, a settlement in the outskirts of Nairobi.
“So far, all other A. afarensis fossils had been identified from the center of the Rift Valley,” explains Nakatsukasa. “A previous Australopithecus bahrelghazali discovery in Chad confirmed that our hominid ancestor’s distribution covered central Africa, but this was the first time an Australopithecus fossil has been found east of the Rift Valley. This has important implications for what we understand about our ancestor’s distribution range, namely that Australopithecus could have covered a much greater area by this age.”
A. afarensis is believed to have lived 3,700,000-3,000,000 years ago, as characterized by fossils like “Lucy” from Ethiopia.
Stable isotope analysis revealed that the Kantis region was humid, but had a plain-like environment with fewer trees compared to other sites in the Great Rift Valley where A. afaransis fossils had previously appeared. “The hominid must have discovered suitable habitats in the Kenyan highlands. It seems that A. afaransis was good at adapting to varying environments,” notes Nakatsukasa.
The team’s survey also turned up masses of mammal fossils, including a few that probably belong to new species of bovids or baboons.
The authors write that the Kantis site was first noted in a 1991 geological survey. At that time, a farmer said that he and his family had come across fossilized bones from Kantis in the 1970s, although they did not recognize their importance. Following airing of Kenyan television programs on paleontological research, locals gradually started to appreciate the fossils. Since then, Kantis and other sites have been identified thanks to fossil notifications from the local population.
The team welcomes this achievement not only for its academic implications, but also for the benefits to the local community. “Kantis is in the vicinity of Nairobi, a major city,” said Nakatsukasa. “We hope that the discovery of the new site and the fossils will aid in increasing tourism, and in improving educational awareness of the local community.”
This video says about itself:
A short fragment from The Ol Pejeta Diaries about the capture of 48 highly endangered hirola antelope in August 2012. These antelope were moved to a 3,000 hectare predator-proof sanctuary that is now managed by the local Somali community in Ishaqbini, northern Kenya. Read more here.
From Wildlife Extra:
World’s Rarest Antelope Flourishes Under Community Conservation
Most people have never heard of the hirola. The fawn coloured antelope is a shy animal, with a long thin face and spectacled eyes. And yet this unassuming creature is the centre of what may be one of the most successful conservation efforts in recent history. And the heroes – the equally unassuming Somali pastoralists who live alongside them on the East bank of the Tana River.
The Abdullah Somali community that run the Ishaqbini Conservancy in north-east Kenya have always had a fondness for the hirola, whose docile nature has earned it the nickname of ‘the stupid antelope’ in other communities. It is endemic to north-east Kenya and south-west Somalia, but populations have declined by over 80% since 1990. Numerous factors, including disease, hunting and loss of grasslands, have contributed to this.
Ishaqbini is part of a network of 33 community conservancies in northern Kenya, operating under the umbrella of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). Together they are managing over 44,000 km² of land, stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Great Rift Valley. Not only are they conserving wildlife, but they are securing peace and building resilient livelihoods for rural communities on the back of it.
Sourcing the funding and support they needed through Northern Rangelands Trust, the Kenya Wildlife Service and others, the Ishaqbini community built a 3,000 hectare, predator-proof enclosure in an attempt to protect the last remaining hirola in their area. In August 2012, 48 hirola were herded up from surrounding areas and moved into the sanctuary. This was the first fenced sanctuary on community land in Kenya dedicated for the conservation of a critically endangered species.
The Ishaqbini Conservancy team raised awareness about the plight of the hirola amongst the local people, and dedicated conservancy rangers to anti-poaching patrols outside the sanctuary and full time monitoring of individual hirola herds in the sanctuary. Through NRT, they had access to expert scientific advice to help them shape their conservation and management strategies. But not even they could have predicted the impact these efforts would have.
In January 2016, an aerial and ground survey revealed just how much their hard work has paid off. An estimated 97 hirola were found within the Sanctuary, and several heavily pregnant females promise to bring this number into the hundreds very soon. From an initial population of just 48, hirola numbers have doubled in just three and a half years.
“The 50% increase in hirola numbers epitomises the opportunity and strength of the growing community conservation movement across Kenya,” says NRT’s Director of Conservation, Ian Craig. “The future of Kenya’s wildlife is inextricably linked with the development of the communities that live with wildlife. Kenya’s community conservancies are widely recognised across the world as one of the most innovative models in Africa empowering people to make informed decisions about management of their land whilst benefitting from wildlife and accessing new and alternative income.”
NRT member conservancies are managed by democratically elected boards and staffed by local people, often mixing ethnic groups that have historically fought with one another. Although the conservancies are still dependent on donor funds, they raise increasingly large sums from commercial activities related to conservation (through NRT Trading Ltd.), from County governments and from tourism. The profits are being channelled into education, health care and development activities.
The Northern Rangelands Trust is an umbrella organisation that aims to establish resilient community conservancies that transform lives, secure peace, and conserve natural resources. There are now 33 NRT-member community conservancies across northern and coastal Kenya, home to over 300,000 people who are managing over 42,000 square kilometres of land and safeguarding a wide range of species and habitats. NRT is now widely seen as a model of how to support community conservancies, and its success has helped shape new government regulations on establishing, registering and managing community conservancies in Kenya.
This video from Kenya in Africa says about itself:
18 December 2015
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This video from London, England says about itself:
Commemorating the Life of Makhan Singh, SOAS University of London
19 October 2015
This panel discussion titled “Commemorating the Life of Radical Kenyan Trade Unionist and National Liberation Activist Makhan Singh” was held at the South Asia Institute at SOAS University of London on 5 October 2015.
This event commemorates the life of Makhan Singh (1913-1973) who was a radical trade unionist, revolutionary, and activist in Kenya. He was imprisoned, detained, and exiled for over 15 years by the colonial authorities in India and Kenya for his outspoken stance on the imperatives of national liberation of the East African Territories. He dedicated his life to social, economic and political liberation and was an ardent campaigner for the rights of all workers in Kenya in speaking out against the regimes of colonialism and imperialism.
The event will not only highlight this important yet overlooked labour and anti-colonial history but will also bring together voices of activists, family members, and commentators who will reflect on this history of the labour movement in Kenya and on Makhan Singh’s life.
An edited volume (edited by Shiraz Durrani, Vita Books: London) which explores various aspects of Makhan Singh’s life will be released at this event.
Judith Heyer, Emeritus Fellow, Somerville College, University of Oxford
Mary Davis, Visiting Professor in Labour History, Royal Holloway, University of London
Shiraz Durrani, Kenyan activist in exile; (Retired) Senior Lecturer, London Metropolitan University
Sukant Chandan, activist and film-maker
Dr. Inderjit Jabbal-Gill (Daughter of Makhan Singh)
Arvinder S. Jabbal (Grandson of Makhan Singh)
This event will be chaired by Dr Navtej Purewal.
By Dan Thea:
A pioneer of Kenya‘s unions
Monday 9th November 2015
A book on Makhan Singh pays due tribute to his outstanding role in the labour movement during the struggle for national liberation, says DAN THEA
Makhan Singh: A Revolutionary Kenyan Trade Unionist
Edited by Shiraz Durrani
(Vita Books, £7.50)
THIS book’s alluring title, with a silhouette of a turbaned and bearded man, pays tribute to an outstanding Kenyan trade unionist during the country’s struggle for national liberation from British colonial rule.
As was common in the subcontinent, as a child Singh left occupied India for Kenya during the construction of the notoriously dangerous Mombasa-Uganda railway.
It was intended to serve British strategic and economic interests, including heading off rival European imperial competition for territory during the notorious “scramble for Africa.”
The arrival of the Indians in the footsteps of the Europeans, who in turn had followed the Arabs, gave Kenya its present day multiracial character.
The book’s early chapters are primarily fond recollections and reflections on Singh by family members. They describe his austere and simple character and stress his devotion to fighting for trade union rights and national independence.
In this section, editor Shiraz Durrani writes a longer and more comprehensive chapter — which bears re-reading — on his trade union and political work and asserts Singh’s brilliant trade union leadership as well as political activism.
In particular, Singh is credited with making the first public call for Kenyan “independence now.”
On his return to India, the authorities imprisoned him from 1939 to 1945 for his political activism. Upon his release, Singh rejoined the Indian independence struggle, including working as a sub-editor of the Communist Party publication “Struggle for Independence.” He ended up celebrating the demise of the Indian Raj before returning home to Kenya.
There, among many other achievements in the trade union movement and the wider independence struggle, he founded the East African Trade Union Congress under the patronage of the Kenya African Union.
For his principled stand and unbending courage in fighting for justice and Kenyan independence the British exiled Singh in 1950 to the country’s remote, hot and dry northern wilderness for 11 years.
When the British declared the Mau Mau war in 1952 a similar treatment was meted out to Jomo Kenyatta and his fellow “Kapenguria Six,” political leaders who were wrongly accused of leading the armed liberation struggle.
The book includes some of Singh’s writing and a large “photo safari” section, all of which serve to affirm the range, depth and importance of his work.
But was Singh the “revolutionary” of the book’s title? “I am a communist,” he declared to both the British and the Kenyan authorities and, by all accounts, while in India he was no closet theoretician or mere activist but a principled, informed and disciplined thinker and an energetic participant within a revolutionary organisation — a revolutionary, in other words.
Yet apparently when in Kenya, where he lived the bulk of his life, he was not active in a revolutionary organisation.
Noticeably, nowhere in the book is it demonstrated, affirmed or even merely claimed that Singh was a participant in the Mau Mau, the Kenyan national liberation movement.
Neither in Durrani’s previous book Mau Mau: The Revolutionary Force From Kenya nor in this book is any link shown between the “revolutionary” Singh and that force — there may be photographs galore with the likes of Jomo Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, Achiengo Oneko and others. But there are none of him with the Mau Mau.
This 2014 video is called Mungu Comrade, a play on the life of Makhan SIngh – Trade unionist and freedom fighter in Kenya.
This 2013 video is called True Facts About The Naked Mole Rat.
By Melissa Breyer:
Secrets of the naked mole-rat revealed
October 23, 2015
New research finds the naked mole-rat has been wildly misunderstood for decades.
So maybe the lack of fur, beady eyes and exuberant teeth don’t exactly make for “cute,” but in terms of nature’s design, the naked mole-rat is a splendid creature. Adapted to a life lived in tunnels beneath the hot African desert, their naked skin allows for excellent burrowing. They don’t need big cute eyes for their subterranean existence, and those teeth? Those teeth are so remarkable that they can not only chew through the tough underground roots that provide nutrition, but they can even chew through concrete when occasion calls for it.
Unlike most other mammals, naked mole-rats are eusocial, meaning that, like bees and ants, they live in a colony with a queen. A few lucky nude dudes get to mate with their depilated ruler, while the rest of the gang works on foraging and infrastructure. And, it has long been believed, they inbreed. (Which has kind of been the last straw for their reputation: They look like larva with teeth and they have sex with family members?)
According to a new study on the little darlings, evolutionary biologists have long been curious about their amorous behavior: “Why would this rodent have evolved to socialize and mate so differently from other mammals? From a natural selection standpoint – where advantageous traits are passed down to succeeding generations – what is gained by limiting genetic diversity by limiting the breeding pool?”
UVA biologist Colleen Ingram and a team of researchers looked at the genetics of different mole-rat populations from Africa, and analyzed them in comparison to the genetics of a mole-rat population that has been studied for decades. They discovered that the groups of the long-studied mole-rats are “inbred” only because they all initially came from a limited, genetically isolated group of naked mole-rats from south of Kenya‘s Athi River.
The team found that larger wild populations from other regions are genetically variable; although they are eusocial, they are not inbred.
“We now know, from looking at the big picture from a much larger geographic area than previously studied, that the naked mole-rat is not inbred at all,” Ingram said.
“What we thought we knew was based on early genetics studies of a small inbred sample from an otherwise genetically variable species. This shows that long-held assumptions, even from heavily studied model species, can and should always be questioned and further studied.”
So there you have it. The naked mole-rat may be bereft of cuddly fur … and bare teeth that are the stuff of cartoon nightmares, but inbred? No way. Proving that science can be fallible, one naked mole-rat at a time.