Fredrick Kyalo Manthi

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

National Museums of Kenya

Grant number

Gr. 9705

Approve Date

October 5, 2018

Project Title

Manthi, Dr. Fredrick Kyalo, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya - To aid research on 'Further Investigations of the Middle Pleistocene Sites in Natodomeri, Northwestern Kenya'

Preliminary abstract: Fossil sites in the Omo-Turkana Basin in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia have yielded large numbers of vertebrate fossil remains including a substantial number of hominins that are dated to between 4.0 and 0.7 Myr. The time interval between 0.2 Myr and 0.01 Myr during which early Homo sapiens are believed to have emerged is so far only well-recorded and known in the Kibish Formation in southern Ethiopia. Sites at Natodomeri (e.g., N 5.13 E 35.73) near the Kenya-Ethiopia-South Sudan border, and dated around 195 kyr have in the last three years been surveyed for fossils remains. The fossil material recovered to date includes a partial skeleton (including a skull) attributed to H. sapiens. Rare taxa such as Camelus as well as taxa previously thought to have been extinct by the time the Natodomeri sites formed (e.g., the pygmy hippo and the suid, Kolpochoerus majus) have also been recovered. Preliminary archaeological work at the sites has resulted in the recovery of lithic artifacts (n=322) that are predominantly Middle Stone Age in typological and technological character. The time interval represented at Natodomeri hold information critical to understanding the evolution of anatomically modern humans (early H. sapiens). In view of the large number of palaeontological and archaeological material recovered so far from Natodomeri and their importance to understanding human ancestry and the evolution of other mammalian species, further surveys of the sites are proposed in 2019. The material recovered during the proposed investigations will contribute to our understanding of the evolutionary history of early H. sapiens and the community structures in which this happened.