Koobi Fora

Koobi Fora
/kooh"bee fawr"euh/
an archaeological locality on the northeastern side of Lake Rudolf, in northern Kenya, yielding important early hominid fossils and some of the oldest hominid areas with stone tools, bone food waste, and possible evidence of fire use, dating from one to two million years ago.

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▪ anthropological and archaeological site, Kenya
 a region of paleoanthropological sites in northern Kenya near Lake Turkana (Lake Rudolf (Rudolf, Lake)). The Koobi Fora geologic formation consists of lake and river sediments from the eastern shore of Lake Turkana. Well-preserved hominin fossils dating from between 2.1 and 1.3 million years ago (mya) include at least one species of robust australopith (Australopithecus) (Paranthropus boisei (Australopithecus)) and three species of Homo (H. habilis (Homo habilis), H. rudolfensis, and African H. erectus (Homo erectus), which is also called H. ergaster). Stone tools dating to 2 mya resemble certain Oldowan industry artifacts from Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. Koobi Fora's archaeological (archaeology) record dates to as recently as 1.4 mya, but there are very few Acheulean (Acheulean industry) hand axes.

 In other fossil-bearing sites west of Lake Turkana, several other species of hominins have been found, including Kenyanthropus platyops (3.2 mya), which has facial traits similar to those of the controversial 1.9-million-year-old H. habilis (Homo habilis) skull KNM-ER 1470—a skull that in some ways resembles Australopithecus. In sediments from 2.5 mya comes the “Black Skull” belonging to the robust australopith P. aethiopicus. In later beds occur representatives of P. boisei (Australopithecus) (2.3–1.6 mya), H. habilis (Homo habilis) (c. 2 mya), and H. ergaster/erectus (1.6 mya), including a nearly complete skeleton of an 11–13-year-old male called “Turkana Boy.” A 1.44-million-year-old jawbone ascribed to H. habilis and a 1.55-million-year-old skull belonging to H. erectus have been found east of Lake Turkana. These fossils suggest that H. habilis and H. erectus coexisted at this location for a time. Oldowan tools have been discovered near Lake Turkana as well, in sediments estimated to be 2.34 million years old; Acheulean tools appear by 1.65 mya.

Henry McHenry IV
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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