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  1. 1. RESULTS OF THE KOOBI FORA RESEARCH PROJECT
  2. 2. Koobi Fora Research Project (KFRP) 1968-today Exploration of the fossil exposures in the Omo-Turkana Basin, northern Kenya, for evidence that will disclose the course and context of human evolution
  3. 3. Australopithecus africanus 1925 Paranthropus robustus 1938 South Africa What was known from Africa in 1968
  4. 4. Paranthropus boisei 1959 East Africa
  5. 5. Homo habilis Homo erectus Olduvai Gorge 1960s
  6. 6. KNM-KP 271 Kanapoi 1965 Lothagam 1967 KNM-LT 329 What was known from Kenya? Late Miocene/early Pliocene
  7. 7. Baringo, Chemeron Baringo, Kapthurin Kanam Late Pliocene /Pleistocene
  8. 8. EAST TURKANA 1968
  9. 9. Field work 1969 Paranthropus boisei
  10. 10. Paranthropus boisei female Field work 1970
  11. 11. Koobi Fora 1970
  12. 13. KBS SITE 1.8 million years Koobi Fora Research Project 1970s
  13. 14. 1972 1974 Homo habilis Homo rudolphensis Early Homo
  14. 15. Earliest known Homo erectus skull 1.89 myr 1975
  15. 16. 1979 Frank Brown, with Thure Cerling, defined finger printing method of identifying tuffs (volcanic ashes)
  16. 17. Significance of finds in 70s <ul><li>Geological history of lake basin outlined </li></ul><ul><li>Fossiliferous areas along Koobi Fora Ridge and Karari escarpment mapped </li></ul><ul><li>Pliocene and Pleistocene faunas documented </li></ul><ul><li>Rich hominid record disclosed </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental trends towards more open country habitats demonstrated </li></ul><ul><li>Archaeological record established </li></ul><ul><li>Initial investigations of Holocene record </li></ul>
  17. 18. Koobi Fora Research Project 1980s Nachukui Formation, West Turkana
  18. 19. Nariokotome 1984
  19. 22. Turkana Boy 1.56 myr Only known Homo erectus skeleton KNM-ER 15000
  20. 23. Paranthropus æ thiopicus Earliest skull known of a robust australopithecine 2.6 myr KNM-ER 17000 “ Black Skull”
  21. 24. Earliest fossil ape Kamoyapithecus hamiltoni Loperot and Lothodok Late Oligocene 23-25 myr
  22. 25. Kalodirr and Buluk 17-18 myr Three new genera and species of fossil apes
  23. 26. Significance of finds in 80s <ul><li>Increased understanding of Homo erectus body plan, brain size and development </li></ul><ul><li>Pliocene and Pleistocene faunal assemblages around the lake basin documented </li></ul><ul><li>Earliest Paranthropus described </li></ul><ul><li>Earliest fossil ape from the late Oligocene </li></ul><ul><li>Three new species of early Miocene apes discovered </li></ul>
  24. 27. Major Turkana Basin Discoveries 1968-1989
  25. 28. H. sapiens chimpanzee Capitates Koobi Fora ResearchProject 1990s A. afarensis chimpanzee South Turkwell chimpanzee South Turkwell 3.5 myr
  26. 29. LOTHAGAM 8–3.5 myr
  27. 30. Lothagam Late Miocene hominins ~5.0 myr
  28. 31. Lothagam Late Miocene fauna ~7.0-5.0 myr
  29. 32. Type site for: 10 vertebrate genera (7 are mammals) and 8 vertebrate species (21 are mammals) LOTHAGAM
  30. 33. Brachypotherium Stegotetrabelodon Tragoportax Palaeotragus
  31. 34. kob Hexaprotodon Nyanzachoerus kudu impala
  32. 35. Isotopes Radiation of C4 grasses: many herbivores change from C3 to C4 diets after 9 myr EQUIDAE PROBOSCIDEA 8myr 8-7myr
  33. 36. Allia Bay – Site 261-1 3.9 myr
  34. 37. Allia Bay - 3.9 myr
  35. 38. KANAPOI 4.1 myr
  36. 39. Australopithecus anamensis 4.1 myr
  37. 41. Capitates A. afarensis chimpanzee A. anamensis South Turkwell Kanapoi A. afarensis
  38. 42. Australopithecus anamensis <ul><li>Fossil evidence: </li></ul><ul><li>47 specimens from Kanapoi </li></ul><ul><li>31 of specimens from Allia Bay </li></ul><ul><li>TOTAL 78 </li></ul><ul><li>Significance: </li></ul><ul><li>earliest australopithecine </li></ul><ul><li>secure evidence of bipedality </li></ul><ul><li>wrist primitive </li></ul><ul><li>likely ancestor for A. afarensis </li></ul>
  39. 43. Louise Leakey co-leader KFRP 1998-today
  40. 44. LOMEKWI 3.5-3.2 myr
  41. 45. 3 Ma 6 Ma ? ? Australopithecus afarensis the common ancestor?
  42. 46. Kenyanthropus platyops Holotype: Cranium KNM-WT 40000 (3.5 Myr.) Etymology: platus (Gk), flat; opsis (GK), face, appearance
  43. 47. ?
  44. 48. Significance of finds in 90s <ul><li>First good East African late Miocene fauna described </li></ul><ul><li>Many herbivores change to C4 dominated diet between 8-6 myr </li></ul><ul><li>Australopithecus anamensis : Earliest australopithecine bipedal but with primitive wrist bone 4.1 myr </li></ul><ul><li>Kenyanthropus platyops: diversity in the hominin lineage at 3.5 myr </li></ul>
  45. 49. EAST TURKANA 2000 Fossils collected in 70s 2.0 to 1.3 myr
  46. 50. Discovery of KNM-ER 42700 by Frederick Manthi in 2000
  47. 52. 1.55 ± 0.05 myr Homo erectus
  48. 53. Smallest 691cc Largest 1067cc Sexual Dimorphism in Homo erectus
  49. 54. KNM-ER 42703 Homo habilis 1.44 + 0.01 myr
  50. 55. <ul><li>Homo erectus highly sexually dimorphic, almost as dimorphic as modern gorillas </li></ul><ul><li>Expect a significant degree of variation </li></ul><ul><li>Homo habilis lived alongside Homo erectus for >400,000 yrs (from 1.87 to 1.44 myr) </li></ul>Significance of finds in 2000
  51. 56. Current Research: GIS technology
  52. 57. GIS - Global information systems
  53. 59. 2000-2007 1970-1980 East Turkana fossil collections- context for human ancestors
  54. 60. New primate species discovered by the KFRP 1968-2008 Hominids Homo ergaster Homo rudolphensis Kenyanthropus platyops Australopithecus anamensis Kamoyapithecus hamiltoni Turkanapithecus kalakolensis Afropithecus turkanensis Simiolus engiessi Cercopithecids Paracolobus mutiwa Paracolobus kerioensis Rhinocolobus turkanensis Cercopithecoides kimeui Colobus freedmani Parapapio lothagamensis
  55. 61. Numbers of fossils and hominins collected 1968-2008 between 8-1.3 myr 384 16,315 Total 6 1,600 Lothagam 46 518 Kanapoi 61 4,310 West Turkana 271 9,887 East Turkana number of hominins number of fossils Late Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene
  56. 62. MONOGRAPHS and publications
  57. 63. MONOGRAPHS and publications
  58. 64. Sibiloi National Park gazetted in 1973
  59. 65. LLSB Memorial Building, completed 1977
  60. 66. Turkana Basin Institute
  61. 67. TBI postdoctoral fellows Dr. Francis Kirera Dr. Frederick Manthi Dr. Veronica Waweru
  62. 68. Koobi Fora Research Project Field Crew who find the fossils
  63. 69. If you want to know more www.turkanabasin.org www.kfrp.com Special thanks to the National Geographic Society for their long term sponsorship

Editor's Notes

  • REL began exploration east of Lake Turkana, then Rudolph, in 1968. Huge area of fossiliferous sediments, numerous fossils including many monkeys
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