Articles

Pliocene and Pleistocene Hominid-Bearing Sites from West of Lake Turkana, Kenya

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  01 Jan 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4835, pp. 27-33
DOI: 10.1126/science.239.4835.27

Abstract

Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil localities near the western shoreline of Lake Turkana, ranging in age between 1 million and 3.5 million years in age, have produced important new hominid specimens including most of a Homo erectus skeleton and a relatively complete early robust australopithecine cranium. The lacustrine, fluviatile, and terrestrial strata are designated the Nachukui Formation, which is subdivided into eight members. The distribution of sedimentary facies within the Nachukui Formation suggests that, as today, the Labur and Murua Rith ranges formed the western margin of the basin and were drained by eastward-flowing rivers that fed into the forerunner of the present lake or a major river system. There is also stratigraphic evidence for tectonic movement during the deposition of these sediments. Twenty-three of the tuffs observed in the succession occur also in the Koobi Fora Formation east of the lake and in the Shungura Formation of the lower Omo Valley and permit precise correlation among these three localities. Fortyseven fossiliferous sites from West Turkana have yielded more than 1000 specimens of 93 mammalian species. The mammalian fossils represent nine sequential assemblages that augment information about faunal and environmental change from elsewhere in the basin.

Stay Connected to Science