Elephants can live to an age of up to 70 or 80 years and they have a good memory. It could be they come across an area that is experiencing a drought. Then they continue on their path and run into people.
The problem is that during the 1980s, a decade of heavy poaching, the elephants retreated to safer areas. And now people have moved into the corridors once used by the elephants.
For fossils to thrive, certain favorable circumstances are required. First of all, of course, remnants of life have to be there. These then need to be washed over with water as soon as possible, so that the bones are covered with a layer of sediment.
Paleoanthropology is not a science that ends with the discovery of a bone. One has to have the original to work with. It is a life-long task.
We are concerned that, in a few years time, this place of discovery, with its wealth of human fossils, the like of which can be found nowhere else in the world, could be completely destroyed.
I would hazard a guess that we have found fossilized human remains of at least a thousand different specimens in South and East Africa, more or less complete at that. I think this is where the prelude to human history was primarily played out.
To investigate the history of man's development, the most important finds are, of course, hominid fossils.
A number of scientists with greatly different backgrounds can come up with completely different assessments. The discussions or controversies are endless. Once a year, we try to bring the most important discoverers together to exchange their experiences and knowledge.
We hope to find more pieces of the puzzle which will shed light on the connection between this upright, walking ape, our early ancestor, and modern man.
We think that groups of between 30 and 40 early men would have settled in an area measuring a hundred square kilometers.
Whether or not all this came to pass in an East African ditch, I wouldn't like to say. Perhaps it happened in North Africa or further west, but Africa was definitely the place.
Along the borders to Ethiopia and Somalia, anarchy reigns, the police and military have retreated quite some distance.
Scientific innovations continually provide us with new means of analyzing the finds.
I can't think of any other region in the world which is such a vast source of fossils.