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Olduvai Gorge

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) also protects Olduvai Gorge, situated in the plains.

The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge is a steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley, which stretches along eastern Africa.

Olduvai Gorge is in the eastern Serengeti Plains in northern Tanzania and is about 30 miles long.

It lies in the rain shadow of the Ngorongoro highlands and is the driest part of the region.

It is considered to be the seat of humanity after the discovery of the earliest known specimens of the human genus, Homo habilis.

It is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world, and research there has been instrumental in furthering understanding of early human evolution.

Excavation work there was pioneered by Mary and Louis Leakey in the 1950s and is continued today by their family.

Millions of years ago, the Olduvai Gorge was the site of a large lake, the shores of which were covered with successive deposits of volcanic ash.

Around 500,000 years ago seismic activity diverted a stream which cut into the sediments, revealing seven main layers in the gorge walls.