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J Hum Evol. 2008 Sep;55(3):360-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.05.007. Epub 2008 Jul 10.

Paleoanthropology of the Kibish Formation, southern Ethiopia: Introduction.

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Department of Anatomical Sciences, T8-023 Health Sciences Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8081, USA.


Cranial and skeletal remains of modern humans, Homo sapiens, were discovered in the Kibish Formation in 1967 by a team from the Kenya National Museums directed by Richard Leakey. Omo I, from Kamoya's Hominid Site (KHS), consists of much of a skeleton, including most of the cranial vault, parts of the face and mandible, and many postcranial elements. Omo II, from Paul's Hominid Site (PHS), is a virtually complete calvaria. Only a limited fauna and a few stone artifacts attributed to the Middle Stone Age were recovered in conjunction with the fossil hominids. The available dating techniques suggested a very early age, over 100 ka, for Member I, from which the Omo I and Omo II fossils were recovered. However, in subsequent decades, the reliability of the dates and the provenance of the Kibish hominids were repeatedly questioned. The papers in this volume provide a detailed stratigraphic analysis of the Kibish Formation and a series of new radiometric dates that indicate an age of 196+/-2 ka for Member I and 104+/-1 for Member III, confirming the antiquity of the lower parts of the Kibish Formation and, in turn, the fossils from Member I. Studies of the postcranial remains of Omo I indicate an overall modern human morphology with a number of primitive features. Studies of an extensive lithic record from Members I and III indicate a Middle Stone Age technology comparable to assemblages of similar age elsewhere in Ethiopia. Studies of the mammalian, avian, and fish faunas indicate overall similarities to those found in the region today, with a few distinctive differences.

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