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The Japanese Embassy presented the national museum of Ethiopia with equipment for hominid fossils worth approximately six million birr. The project to improve the equipment for hominid fossil-related facilities was funded by the Japanese cultural grant –in –aid in 2008. Microscopes, projectors and iron safe cabinets where the fossils will be stored in were handed over to the Museum in 2010 but there was a delay in installing the microscopes and safes. The project aims to keep “world treasure” class human fossils found in Ethiopia stored securely and in good condition. It also aims to promote international scientific research that will lead to further discoveries and stimulate public interest and education concerning these fossils.
Professor Gen Suwa of Tokyo University and Dr. Yonas Asfaw gave a briefing concerning what exactly the equipment does and what it means to the museum. The Ardipithecus Ramidus which is 4.4 million years old and one of the most important hominid fossils in the world has already been securely stored in one of the iron safe cabinets.
“The equipment support helps us manage the human fossils with in our modern museum environment,” said Yonas Desta Director General of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH).
Hiroyuki Kishino, Ambassador of Japan to Ethiopia said that he was pleased to see all the equipment properly functioning. “Africa is the cradle of mankind and we are lucky to have Lucy for all posterity,” he also stated.
Amin Abdulkadir from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism was also present at the inauguration of the facilities. He expressed his gratitude to the Japanese embassy. “ Now that we have this support, I hope to see many more discoveries in the country,” he said.