Tag Archives: featured

1984: The discovery of Nariokotome Boy

This skull and mandible belong to the 1.6 million year old skeleton of Homo erectus found at Nariokotome on the west side of Lake Turkana, sometimes referred to as the “Turkana Boy” or the “Nariokotome Boy”. This discovery was made by Kamoya Kimeu, on a Sunday morning in August 1984. He was walking up a gentle slope on the southern side of the seasonal Nariokotome River when he spotted a matchbox sized skull fragment, which he recognized as belonging to a human ancestor. No one could have imagined that such a complete specimen would be recovered. As the excavation of the hillside progressed more pieces of skull, teeth, and then ribs began to be uncovered. This turned into one of the most exciting excavations of arguably the most important fossil discovered in east Africa.
Due to its completeness, this skeleton provides unprecedented insight into the body shape, brain size and development of Homo erectus. The Turkana Boy was surprisingly tall, 5’3” (1.6 meters) although he was still an adolescent. He had a slender body well adapted to living in hot climates. Homo erectus was the first human ancestor to migrate out of Africa 1.8 million years ago. Several specimens have also been recovered from sites in China, Indonesia, and Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia.

A 3D scan of this fossil and others can be found at africanfossils.org

Ground Truthing the FossilFinder Beta Test

We arrived yesterday in Ileret and the first thing we just had to do was to see if we could relocate finds located by our beta testers from the images we collected last season.

One of the pictures we placed online during the beta was flagged a few times as containing numerous fossil bone fragments. Here is the picture from the preview:

An interesting image from the fossilfinder beta
An interesting image from the fossilfinder beta

GPS in hand we drove out to area 8. After a few moments of figuring out the best way to use the gps data we had we found those fossil bones on the surface:

fossil bones found during ground truthing
fossil bones found during ground truthing

This is an excellent result and means that our method is working!