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Homo Erectus Discovery
APRIL 2005
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Evolutionary Highway
In some cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett

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Homo Erectus Discovery On Assignment Photographer On Assignment
Homo Erectus Discovery

     Since 1995 I've returned to the Dmanisi site several years in a row, which has given me the luxury of developing great friendships with the scientists. That has led to better photographic coverage because they always let me know when new discoveries are about to come out of the ground so I can be there.      There's so much sediment on top of the plateau that it's going to take decades for the scientists to excavate it all, and I'm so impatient that I hate having to wait. I wish I could know what's underneath right now. At least I know that when they do make a discovery, I'll get to go back.      I wanted to take pictures of a promontory next to a sheer mountain cliff, so I hired a helicopter and paid about $1,200 cash. But when the helicopter showed up the weather had gotten so bad that the pilot couldn't land. He just kept flying, and I had to chase after him for 20 minutes until he found a place to land in the middle of a village. At that point the weather had deteriorated even more. Since I had already paid for the time, I decided to get in, even though I was worried that we might crash against the high cliff east of the site.
     So against my better judgment, we flew back toward the promontory. Suddenly a shaft of light broke through the stormy clouds as we flew up to the cliff face, and I was able to  make some beautiful pictures. (See page 20 in this month's issue.)
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