I've just returned from my overnight hike to that undisclosed location.* I'd like to say thanks to you readers for the encouragement and good wishes in the run-up. I had been invited to attend a dinner and a brunch in honour of Mr. Gordon Getty, who for 40 years has been a pillar of the Leakey Foundation, most of it spent as Chair of the Board of Trustees, and a large contributor to the foundation's endowment. It was apparent to me that his support has had a very widespread effect on the study of human origins over the last half century. For my part, the prospect of an event such as this---most unfortunately---scares the bejeezus out of me, as I've previously pointed out.
The undisclosed location was in one of the many 'wine countries' of northern California. The dinner on Sat. night was a real treat, and the company was convivial. The new Irish linen herringbone suit was a hit. And I was very relieved to see a couple of friendly faces rather than what I had most feared, the faces of---how shall I put it?---my antagonists, of whom, as you know, the numbers are legion.
By far the greatest number of guests were palaeo-anthropo-philanthropists. We palaeo-anthropologists were a tiny minority. I bored right in and chatted with a number of very nice Leakey Foundation trustees and donors. The friendly faces were those of the Sunday speaker, Randy White, he of early personal ornamentation fame, and of the ever tall, dark and handsome Steve Kuhn, the Middle Palaeolithic lithicist. They've been very busy bunnies since I last talked with either, at least 20 years ago. [!] I managed to talk with both of them, and the rest, without sounding too much like a dork. And I didn't bat an eyelid when Randy told me that his team had recently dated "the vulva" from the Abri Castanet, in France. The petroglyph in question is illustrated below. I bit my tongue when the dates were published. I dunno. Looks more like the business end of a spermatozoa to me.
|From White et al. 2012|
|Clark and Betty in better days.|
|But no worries! I'm back in the saddle again.|
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