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

 

Click on the thumbnail to see greater detail and a larger image!

 

 

KNM-ER 1470 Homo rudolfensis

 

Discovered:  1972 by Bernard Ngeneo / Richard Leakey

                Location:  Koobi Fora

            Age:  ~ 1.9 million years old

Description:  Larger part of the cranium.  Face is large and flat, the palate is blunt and wide.

Teeth roots indicate teeth would have been large.  Braincase capacity is ~750cc

Scientific Implications:  Features are reminiscent of

australopithecines.  However, large braincase is very advanced and similar to that of the genus Homo.  This finding caused

a great deal of controversy at the time.

Further Reading: (Leakey, 1973) 

 

 

KNM-ER 1813 Homo habilis

 

Discovered:  1973 by Kamoya Kimeu

                 Location:  Koobi Fora

                 Age:  ~ 1.8-1.9 million years old

                 Description:  Slightly fragmented cranium.  Braincase capacity is ~

 510cc.  Apart from a small braincase, similar to the KNM-ER   

 1470 specimen.

                 Scientific Implications:  Has an important role in the resolution of

 the genus Homo.  Arguments vary as to which genus the specimen

 ER-1813 belongs to.

 Some scientists suggest this is an example of sexual dimorphism.

                                     Further Reading: (Leakey, 1974)  

 

  

KNM-ER 3733Homo erectus

 

Discovered:  1975 by Bernard Ngeneo

                Location:  Koobi Fora

                Age:  ~ 1.7 million years old

                Description:  Almost complete cranium.  Braincase capacity is ~

850cc

                Scientific Implications:  Fossil found in the same stratum as KNM-

ER 406 (A.boisei).  As a consequence, discovery led to rejection of

single species hypothesis and led to a review of Homo erectus

migration out of Africa into Asia.

                Further Reading: (Leakey & Walker, 1976)

 

 

KNM-WT 15000Homo ergaster

 

Discovered:  1984 by Kamoya Kimeu

                 Location:  Nariokotome, West Turkana

                 Age:  ~ 1.6 million years old

                 Description:  Almost complete skeleton.  Only feet and hands

 missing.  Believed to be 9-11 year old boy. 

 Braincase capacity is ~ 880cc. 

 Height (160cm) and posture similar to modern humans.

                                     Scientific Implications:  Originally described as H. erectus. 

However, would not have fitted many evolutionary models, so   

was assigned to a new species: Homo ergaster

                                     Specimen gives useful information on the sexual maturity of Early

 Homo

                                     Further Reading: (Brown et al., 1985)

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