Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The War On Fossils Continues

As I reported previously, evangelicals, led by Bishop Boniface Adoyo, Chairman of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, are trying to suppress a fossil display in Kenya’s National Museum. (And they’re apparently getting aid from unnamed Western groups.) The planned exhibit contains numerous hominid fossils found in that country, including the famous Turkana Boy, a nearly complete Homo erectus skeleton.

CNN has recently published an article about the museum exhibit and the evangelicals’ attempts to whisk it away to some back room where it can't offend them. Most of the information in the article is old hat, but it’s good to see the American media finally picking up on this. There is however one part that’s new to me:

[Richard] Leakey fears the ideological spat may provoke an attack on the priceless collection, one largely found during the 1920s by his paleontologist parents, Louis and Mary Leakey, who passed their fossil-hunting traditions on to him.

The museum, which attracts around 100,000 visitors a year, is taking no chances.

Turkana Boy will be displayed in a private room, with limited access and behind a glass screen with 24-hour closed-circuit TV. Security guards will be at the entrance.

“There are issues about the security,” said Dr. Emma Mbua, the head of paleontology at the museum. “These fossils are irreplaceable and we wouldn’t want anything to happen to them.”

Insurance coverage could run into millions of dollars, she added.

Way to go creationists. You’ve successfully driven security and insurance costs through the roof because your nutty followers can’t be trusted not to destroy priceless artifacts.

(Cross-posted to the Panda's Thumb.)