“No fossil is buried with its birth certificate,” wrote the renowned science editor Henry Gee in his 2000 treatise, In Search of Deep Time. While true, fossils are buried with plenty of clues that allow us to reconstruct their history. An array of absolute dating techniques has made it possible to establish the timescale of Earth’s history, including the age and origin of life, the timing of mass extinctions and the record of human evolution.
In 2013, in Ethiopia’s Afar region, our research team discovered a rare fossil jawbone belonging to our genus, Homo. To solve the mystery of when this human ancestor lived on Earth, we looked to nearby volcanic ash layers for answers. Using a geologist’s magnifying glass, we can carefully scan the ash in search of tiny minerals that are smaller than a single sprinkle on a sugar cookie and that hold the key to determining the age of a fossil.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.