24 March 2016

Kenya: Researchers Discover 3.5m-Year-Old Human Fossil in Kenya

A past picture taken during the discovery of Orrorin Tugenensis fossils in Orrorin, Baringo County in 2000.

A fossil has been discovered in the Ngong Hills belonging to early human species Australopithecus afarensis, proving that early humans lived close to Nairobi city.

The discovery of the 3.5 million-year-old fossil at the Kantis Fossil Site (KFS) is the first specimen of the species that occurred outside the Rift Valley basin.

It is also the first time that the A. afarensis species has been discovered in Kenya. Previous finds have been unearthed in Tanzania and Ethiopia.

"The presence of A. afarensis at Kantis Fossil Site (KFS) extends the geographical range of the species away from the Rift Valley systems and suggests the species found suitable habitats on the Kenyan highlands," the National Museums of Kenya said in a statement.

The research was undertaken by a consortium of scholars that comprises Kenyans, Americans, Japanese and French scientists.

The scholars were coordinated by Dr Emma Mbua, an associate research scientist at the National Museums of Kenya and a lecturer at Mount Kenya University.

Kantis fossil site joins other early human sites in Kenya that have yielded fossils of at least five humanoid species like Koobi Fora, Kanapoi and Nariokotome on the eastern and western side of Lake Turkana.

"It is our expectations that KFS due to its proximity to Nairobi city, will serve as an important tourist destination in addition to research, and will attract visitors that are interested in early human development story," the National Museums of Kenya said in the statement.

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