Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dr. Yosef A. A. ben- Jochannon an Ethiopian in Diapora dead at age 96

Respected, beloved and acclaimed throughout the Black community, Dr. Ben died at age 96.
When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.” -Afrikan Proverb
We had a false alarm a few days ago, but today Grand Master has transitioned on to his next life.
December 31, 1918- March 19, 2015

Peace onto you Grand Master Teacher
Dr. Yosef Alfredo Antonio Ben-Jochannan, also known as Dr. Ben, is an Ethiopian-Puerto Rican writer, historian and Egyptologist. Ben-Jochannan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering at the University of Puerto Rico in 1938, and earned his master’s degree in architectural engineering from the University of Havana, Cuba in 1938. He received his doctoral degrees in cultural anthropology and Moorish history from the University of Havana and the University of Barcelona, Spain, respectively.
Dr. Ben-Jochannan is the author of 49 books, primarily on ancient Nile Valley civilizations and their impact on Western cultures. One of Dr. Ben’s most thought-provoking works, “African Origins of the Major ‘Western Religions’” (1970), highlights how the roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam originated in Afrika. He also argues that the original Hebrews were from Ethiopia and were Afrikans, while the European Jews later adopted the Hebrew faith and its customs.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Abyssinian lions at risk of dying out – ABC Environment (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Abyssinian lion or Ethiopian lion

An Abyssinian lion, which was rescued from captivity at an early age, sits in the sun in the Ethiopian chapter of Born Free, which houses six Ethiopian lions that have been rescued from captivity from various locations around the country, February 18, 2015.Credit: Zacharias Abubeke (AFP)

Black-maned lions were once the symbol of Ethiopia, today there are fears they could become extinct.
ETHIOPIA'S BLACK-MANED LIONS once represented a former emperor, "Lion of Judah" Haile Selassie, and were immortalised in a song by reggae legend Bob Marley. Today, they struggle for survival.
A booming human population, widespread habitat destruction and growing livestock numbers mean the animal that once graced Ethiopia's flag is on the wane.
They live on in only small pockets of the African nation, and conservationists warn that without action, all that will remain of the powerful creatures are the stone sculptures dotted in the flourishing capital, Addis Ababa.
"There were lions everywhere in Ethiopia, but their habitat is shrinking," said Zelealem Tefera, country head of the Born Free Foundation, a conservation group.
"Human settlements are expanding, prey is disappearing and there is nothing to eat for the lions," he said.
In decline across Africa, lions have been put on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's "red list" of threatened species, but Ethiopia's rare lions — seen as unique though debate continues over their DNA — are even more vulnerable.
In the past few decades they have disappeared from much of Ethiopia. With 96 million people, it is Africa's second most populous nation, and the number is growing by some two million people every year.
Conservationists estimate there are, at most, 1,000 lions left. They are to be found mainly in remote areas bordering the war-torn countries of South Sudan and Somalia, as well as in a handful of national parks in the centre and east.
"The black-maned lion is very unique and only found in a few locations in Ethiopia," Zelealem said.
"It makes them very important in our culture. I don't think the lion population will completely disappear from Ethiopia in the coming few years, but if we don't protect their habitat there is no reason why this couldn't happen," he said.

Abused and poisoned

In a forest area some 30 kilometres south of Addis Ababa, the Born Free Foundation has taken in seven of the lions, all captured by villagers or soldiers.
Many have suffered physical abuse — a far cry from how Haile Selassie used to keep them as palace pets — and unlike other wild animals seized from traffickers, such as cheetahs and monkeys, the lions cannot be released back into the wild.
Their remaining habitat is very small and the risk of conflict with humans too great.
One young male, Kebri, a powerful cat with a dark brown mane just beginning to appear, is just such a victim of growing conflict with farmers.
"His mother killed some livestock here and as a result the local village poisoned her," said Derek Bretts, who looks after the animals at the centre.
"They fed her meat that had been laced with poison and she ended up dying," he said. "We got a call saying that there was a young cub, so we went and took him."
While Ethiopia has a dozen national parks where wild animals can find safe havens, pressures on the lions continue to grow.
"Wildlife preservation is not given priority in Ethiopia. Not all protected areas in Ethiopia are actually well protected," said Fikirte Gebresenbet, an Ethiopian lion expert from Oklahoma State University in the United States.
"People reside in the park for half the year, or pastoralists come to the park every now and then to graze their cattle. And it results in conflict with the lions," she said.
The future of the lions of Ethiopia may lie in the development of tourism, but it is an industry still in its infancy.
"If we take lessons from Kenya and Tanzania, the future could be brighter," Fikirte said. "We have to convince the government that people would pay to see lions in well-protected areas."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Hawassa Burns

Earliest Known Human Discovered in Ethiopia

By  | 
Sometimes a great adventure is when a great discovery gets made that has the potential to change all our lives. Such a discovery has been made by researchers who may have just uncovered the earliest known human being.  A jaw has been found in Ethiopia pushing our ancestry origins back further, having been unearthed at the Ledi-Geraru research area at Afar Regional State, Ethiopia.  It now appears as though the first known human lived in Ethiopia 2.8 million years ago, according to two remarkable new studies that also reveal the conditions under which the earliest humans evolved.  Prior research is said that our ancestors dated back some 2.3-2.4 million years ago, which now pushes back human history roughly 400,000 years.
Prior to 3 million years ago, humans were ape-like, living in the forest with small brains and did not eat meat or use tools.  At 2 million years, humans had larger brains, at meat and used stone tools.
“This transitional period is very important in terms of human evolution,” said Prof Brian Villmoare of the University of Nevada.
Villmoare, a researcher at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and his colleagues do not name the individual’s species, but it likely is the common ancestor of at least two separate human lineages that split at around 2.3 million years ago, with one remaining in Ethiopia and the other going to Tanzania.
Unfortunately, only a jaw bone with teeth has been uncovered.  Scientists won’t be able to say much about the body. This will hopefully lead to additional discoveries that will continue to rewrite our history and educate us.
As humans likely evolved from the more ape-like Australopithecus, represented by the most well known fossil of all, “Lucy” when remains were uncovered in 1974; we continued to evolve with characteristics closer related to modern human beings.
The most famous fossil is the partial skeleton named Lucy (3.2 million years old) found by Donald Johanson and colleagues.  Australopithecus afarensis is an extinct hominid that lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago.
 photo LucySmithsonian_zpslg8xnb5c.jpg
The geological setting in which the fossil was discovered suggests that the grounds were mostly a mix of grasslands and shrubs, with scatterings of trees near water, the researchers say. There was also a lake and rivers in the area with hippos, antelope, elephants, crocodiles and fish, they added.
“This find helps place the evolution of Homo geographically and temporally — it tells us where and when Homo evolved,” Villmoare said.

First human' discovered in Ethiopia 2.8 million year old - BBC News

Pallab Ghosh

Fossil jawboneThe fossil's teeth are smaller than those of other human relatives

Related Stories

Scientists have unearthed the jawbone of what they claim is one of the very first humans.
The 2.8 million-year-old specimen is 400,000 years older than researchers thought that our kind first emerged.
The discovery in Ethiopia suggests climate change spurred the transition from tree dweller to upright walker.
The head of the research team told BBC News that the find gives the first insight into "the most important transitions in human evolution".

Start Quote

This is the most important transition in human evolution”
Prof Brian VillmoareUniversity of Nevada
Prof Brian Villmoare of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas said the discovery makes a clear link between an iconic 3.2 million-year-old hominin (human-like primate) discovered in the same area in 1974, called "Lucy".
Could Lucy's kind - which belonged to the species Australopithecus afarensis - have evolved into the very first primitive humans?
"That's what we are arguing," said Prof Villmoare.
But the fossil record between the time period when Lucy and her kin were alive and the emergence of Homo erectus (with its relatively large brain and humanlike body proportions) two million years ago is sparse.
The 2.8 million-year-old lower jawbone was found in the Ledi-Geraru research area, Afar Regional State, by Ethiopian student Chalachew Seyoum. He told BBC News that he was "stunned" when he saw the fossil.
"The moment I found it, I realised that it was important, as this is the time period represented by few (human) fossils in Eastern Africa."
The fossil is of the left side of the lower jaw, along with five teeth. The back molar teeth are smaller than those of other hominins living in the area and are one of the features that distinguish humans from more primitive ancestors, according to Professor William Kimbel, director of Arizona State University's Institute of Human Origins.

Start Quote

These new studies challenge us to consider the very definition of what it is to be human”
Prof Chris StringerNatural History Museum, London
"Previously, the oldest fossil attributed to the genus Homo was an upper jaw from Hadar, Ethiopia, dated to 2.35m years ago," he told BBC News.
"So this new discovery pushes the human line back by 400,000 years or so, very close to its likely (pre-human) ancestor. Its mix of primitive and advanced features makes the Ledi jaw a good transitional form between (Lucy) and later humans."
A computer reconstruction of a skull belonging to the species Homo habilis, which has been published in Nature journal, indicates that it may well have been the evolutionary descendant of the species announced today.
The researcher involved, Prof Fred Spoor of University College London told BBC News that, taken together, the new findings had lifted a veil on a key period in the evolution of our species.
"By discovering a new fossil and re-analysing an old one we have truly contributed to our knowledge of our own evolutionary period, stretching over a million years that had been shrouded in mystery," he said.
Climate change

The dating of the jawbone might help answer one of the key questions in human evolution. What caused some primitive ancestors to climb down from the trees and make their homes on the ground.
A separate study in Science hints that a change in climate might have been a factor. An analysis of the fossilised plant and animal life in the area suggests that what had once been lush forest had become dry grassland.
As the trees made way for vast plains, ancient human-like primates found a way of exploiting the new environmental niche, developing bigger brains and becoming less reliant on having big jaws and teeth by using tools.
Prof Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London described the discovery as a "big story".
He says the new species clearly does show the earliest step toward human characteristics, but suggests that half a jawbone is not enough to tell just how human it was and does not provide enough evidence to suggest that it was this line that led to us.
DigThe jawbone was found close to the area where Lucy was discovered
He notes that the emergence of human-like characteristics was not unique to Ethiopia.
"The human-like features shown by Australopithecus sediba in South Africa at around 1.95 million years ago are likely to have developed independently of the processes which produced (humans) in East Africa, showing that parallel origins are a distinct possibility," Prof Stringer explained.
This would suggest several different species of humans co-existing in Africa around two million years ago with only one of them surviving and eventually evolving into our species, Homo sapiens. It is as if nature was experimenting with different versions of the same evolutionary configuration until one succeeded.
Prof Stringer added: "These new studies leave us with an even more complex picture of early humans than we thought, and they challenge us to consider the very definition of what it is to be human. Are we defined by our small teeth and jaws, our large brain, our long legs, tool-making, or some combination of these traits?"
Follow Pallab on Twitter

Quick Linker

Amazon SearchBox

About the Bloger

My photo

Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.