Name: Lake Turkana
Location: Kenya, East Africa
Age: Pliocene/ Pleistocene (4-0 Ma)


Important Fossil Discoveries:
Genus: Australopithecus, Kenyanthropus


The following is a list and brief description of the fossils found at Lake Turkana, which have had relatively important implications for the study of human evolution. Many of the fossils are fragmentary or partial, and only consist of a few isolated bones. The list is organised by the age of the fossil, from oldest to youngest. Each fossil has its own unique specimen number, which scientists use to easily classify the fossil and indicate at what site it was found. Specimen codes for Lake Turkana can be abbreviated in the following way:

ER                   East Rudolf, Kenya

WT                  West Turkana, Kenya

KP                   Kanapoi, Kenya

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KP 29281 Australopithecus anamensis

 

 Discovered:  1994 by Peter Nzube

 Location:  Kanapoi

                 Age:  ~ 4.0 million years old

                 Description:  Complete lower jaw with all the dentition.

                 Further Reading: (Leakey et al., 1995)

 

 

KP 29285Australopithecus anamensis

 

Discovered:  1994 by Kamoya Kimeu

                  Location:  Kanapoi

                  Age:  ~ 4.1 million years old

                  Description:  Tibia, with middle part of the bone missing.

  Scientific Implications:  Has provided some of the earliest known evidence of bipedalism.

                  Further Reading: (Leakey et al., 1995)

 

  

KNM-WT 40000Kenyanthropus platyops

                  Discovered:  1999 by Justus Erus

                  Location:  Lomekwi, West Turkana

                  Age:  ~ 3.5 million years old

Description:  Heavily fragmented cranium. Braincase capacity similar to australopithecines (~400cc). Large flat face, and small dentition.

Scientific Implications:  Similar to KNM-ER 1470 fossil.  Confusing for scientists as fossils are ~ 2.5 million years apart in geological age.

                  Further Reading: (Leakey et al., 2001)

  

 

KNM-WT 17000Australopithecus aethiopicus

 

  Discovered:  1985 by Alan Walker

                  Location:  nr West Turkana

                  Age:  ~ 2.5 million years old

Description:  Almost complete cranium.  Very robust.  Braincase capacity is ~ 410cc (v. small).

Specimen has mixture of very primitive (ape-like) and advanced   (hominid) features.

Scientific Implications:  Very controversial specimen – did not fit  any phylogenetic picture.

 

 

KNM-ER 406 Australopithecus boisei


   Discovered: 1969 by Richard Leakey

                                       Location:  Koobi Fora

                                       Age: ~1.7 million years old

Description: Complete highly robust cranium, only dentition absent. Braincase capacity is ~510cc (relatively small)

Scientific Implications: Occurrence at Koobi Fora with non-robust, relatively large-brained specimen (KNM-ER 3733) disproved single species hypothesis for that period of time (approx. 2 mya).

                   Further Reading: (Leakey & Walker, 1976)

 

  

KNM-ER 732Australopithecus boisei


   Discovered: 1970 by Richard Leakey

                                      Location: near Lake Turkana

                                      Age:  ~ 1.7 million years old

Description: Very fragmented cranium. Braincase capacity is ~500cc. Robust specimen but lacks a sagittal crest.

Scientific Implications: Could be an example of sexual dimorphism. This fossil is sometimes referred to as Paranthropus boisei

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