Emma Nguvi Mbua

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

National Museums of Kenya

Grant number

Gr. 10475

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Mbua, Emma (National Museums of Kenya) "Further fieldwork and taphonomic studies at Kantis Fossil Site, a Pliocene locality in Kenya."

EMMA MBUA, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya, was awarded funding in April 2023 to aid research on “Further Fieldwork and Taphonomic Studies at Kantis Fossil Site, a Pliocene Locality in Kenya.” The objectives for the 2023 KFS research were: 1) to extend excavations towards the northern section of the fossiliferous bone bed at the KFS site; 2) to collect taphonomic data to test hypotheses of site formation; and 3) to study fossil primates collected previously. Firstly, an area measuring 150 square feet was excavated, yielding about 200 fossils comprising eight fauna taxa previously known on the site. The primates’ study in the museum storage laboratory revealed three species of monkeys at KFS, including Theropithecus oswoldi serengetensis and two Colobine species. The tapho study identified one new juvenile Theropithecus 4th metatarsal, and some large mammal taxonomic identifications were further refined. In addition, specimens with ancient surface modifications were identified, including several that demonstrated shallow and narrow V-shaped striations. Some surface modifications could be confidently attributed to trampling, but others had characteristics overlapping with cutmarks. Our leading hypothesis for the site has been that Kantis represents an attritional streamside carnivore accumulation (or carnivore hotspot). However, no data yet suggests the hominins accumulated differently than the rest of the fossil assemblage. However, we cannot rule out that they may have played a role in the accumulation of fossil materials either.