Ancient Ape fossils found in Kenya


Numerous fossils of Apes that existed before the advent of Homininds
have been discovered in Kenya. As is the case with Human evolution
fossils, Kenya is fertile ground for the discovery of ancient Ape
fossils. Below is a listing, description and
background information about the Human evolutionAncient Ape fossils
unearthed in Kenya.


The Oldest Chimpanzee Fossils


As of 2015, the oldest chimpanzee fossils ever found were unearthed

in the Kapthurin Formation, a section of the Rift Valley near
Kenya’s Lake Baringo. These fossils, consisting of three teeth, dated to
500,000 years in age–meaning that chimpanzees coexisted alongside
hominids. They were unearthed by Sally McBrearty.

Sally mcBrearty


Chimpanzee fossils are very rare because they  tend to live in
hot, wet jungle conditions that are not good for the preservation of

Nakalipithecus Nakayamai

Nakalipithecus Nakayamai is an ape that existed 9.9 to 9.8 million
years ago. It is known from a jawbone that was unearthed in the Nakali
region of Kenya by a team of Kenyan and Japanese scientists. The genus
assigned after the area it was found in while the species is named after
Japanese geologist Katsuhiro Nakayama who died while working on the

Nakalipithecus Nakayamai

Nakalopthecus Nakayamai jawbone.
Credit: Yutaku Kunimatsu

Nakalipithecus is very close to the last common ancestor of Humans,
chimpanzees and  Gorillas. Its dental features resemble those of
Ouranopithecus macedoniensis, an ape that lived in what is now
Greece between 9.6 million and 8.7 million years ago and which some
scientists think is the last known common ancestor to African great apes
and humans. Together with Ouranopithecus it provides evidence
that the Homininae lineages of today diverged no earlier than some 8
million years ago. Second, it supports the theory that the closest
relatives of humans evolved in Africa.

Kamoyapithecus Hamiltoni

Kamoyapithecus is an ape that lived during the Oligocene period (27
million. It was first discovered in 1948 and was initially thought to be
a form of proconsul. It was later re-examined by reknowned
palaentologist Richard Leakey and assigned a new genus Kamoyapithecus in
honour of famous  fossil finder Kamoya Kimeu.

Kamoyapithecus is the oldest known Catarrhine (Catarrhines are one of
the two subdivisions of higher primates).

Kamoyapithecus is only known from tooth and jaw fragments. Its teeth
are not thickly ernamelled. As such it is thought to have fed primarily
on soft foods such as fruits and seeds.





Photo: Univ of Zurich

The Proconsul are an extinct genus of Ape whose fossils have been
discovered in Kenya and Uganda. It existed during the miocene epoch
(23-25 million years ago). There are four species: P. africanus,
P. gitongai , P. major and P. meswae, which defer
in body size.

Proconsul show a mixture of Ape and Old world monkey characteristics.
Monkey like features include flexible back, curved metacarpals, and
monkey like posture. Its ape like features include the lack of a tail
and enhanced grasping capabilities.

Because it is one of the earliest monkey to Ape transitional species,
It is thought to be a strong candidate to be the ancestor of all great
Apes including man and chimpanzees.

The first specimen was discovered at Koru in what is now Kisumu county
in 1909. It was the first ever fossil mammal found in Sub Saharan
Africa. Additional fossils were found near Lake Victoria and on Rusinga


This genus was first discovered at Fort Ternan by Louis Leakey in
1962. It was dated to 14 million years ago. There are two species: K.
Wickeri and K. Africanus, however there is still great debate among
scientists about its classification. It is considered as a potential
ancestor to the great Apes. Since very similar fossils have been found
in Turkey, it is also considered as one of the Apes that started the
radiation out of Africa.


Samburupithecus Kiptalami

Samburupithcus Kiptalami is known from a maxilla fragment that was
discovered in 1982. It was dated to 9.5 million years ago. It is the
only species of the genus Samburupithecus.

The teeth have a thick coating of enamel and have cusps that are more
rounded rather than pointed.‭ ‬This suggests a diet that incorporated
tougher vegetation.


Limnopithecus was a a genus of fossil nonbrachiating gibbon like ape from the Lower Miocene. It was similar in size to modern Gibbons, weighing about 5kg. The species found in Kenya was Limnopithecus Legetet, which is also the oldest (20 – 18 million years. It was found on the Wayondo formation on Rusinga island.

Limnopithecus was initially theroized to the ancestral to gibbons, but scientists are  now it is more inclined to consider it an archaic hominoid, part of a basal stock that also includes the ancestors of the ilobatids and hominids. Affinities have been proposed with Dendropithecus.

It is assumed that Limnopithecus was an arboreal animal that moved easily between the branches; it probably fed on leaves and fruit.


Dendropithecus was a genus of ape that existed 15 to 20 million years ago. It was Gibbon like but with very primitive features. It was 60 cm in length and was able to brachiate. Its remains were found on Rusinga island.

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Human Evolution fossils found in Kenya

Kenya is arguably the country in with the
highest number of human evolution fossils. In particular, the region
near Lake Turkana has been very fertile ground for the discovery of
human evolution fossils and artifacts. Below is a listing, description
and background information about the Human evolution fossils unearthed
in Kenya.

The world’s oldest stone tools

In 2011 a research team led by Dr Sonia
Harmand of Stony Brook University, discovered a set of stone tools at a
site called Lomekwi on the Northern shores of Lake Turkana. The tools
were found by Sammy Lokorodi.

world's oldest stone tools

Dr Mzalendo Kibunja of the Kenya Museums, , Stony
Brook University research associate professor Dr Sonia Harmand and Sammy

The tools were found to be 3.3 million years
old, which is 700,000 years older than the tools created by Homo Habilis
which were previously assumed to be the oldest. Given the timeframe, the
tools are assumed to have been created by Australopithecus Anamensis or
Kenyathropus Platyops whose remains were found in the area.

Paranthropus Aethiopicus

This fosssil find popularly known as the black skull, was discovered
in 1985 by Alan Walker and Philip Leakey. It is referred to as the black
skull because when it was unearthed, it had been darkened by manganese
minerals in the soil.

The find is dated to 2.5 million years ago and is a robust
australopithecine with a strongly protruding face, large teeth, robust
jaws and a well developed saggital crest on th skull to support chewing

Orrorin Tugenensis

The fossils of this species were unearthed in 2001 and were
dated to between 5.8 and 6.2 million years ago. The sediments in which
the fossils were found were also consistently found to be about 6
million years old

The fossils consisted of 13 fossils, including a partial femur, bits of
a lower jaw, and several teeth. The fossils were found by a team led by
French geologist Martin Pickford and French palaeontologist Briggite

The fossils were found in the Tugen hills near the Rift Valley. The
reasearchers gave the name Orrorin Tugenensis which in the local Tugen
language means “Original Man”.

It is the only species that belongs to the genus Orrorin. Its femur and
humerus are 50% larger than those of Lucy (Australopithecus Afarensis)
which means it would have been 50% larger than Lucy making it about the
size of a chimpanzee.

In 2008 a study of the grooves in the femurs of Orrorin. tugenensis,
presumably points where muscles and ligaments attached, suggest that the
species was bipedal. This bipedalism makes it the earliest candidate to
be a direct ancestor of modern humans.

In addition, its molars  are more similar to modern human teeth in
that they are smaller than those of later hominind species like Lucy and
also have a thick enamel like those of Homo Sapiens.

Australopithecus Anamensis

Fossils of this species were first found in 1965 at Kanapoi which is
close to Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya. They were found by Harvard
Bryan Patterson They remained unclassified until 1994 when a team led by
paleoanthropologist Maeve Leakey uncovered similar fossils in the nearby
Allia Bay. They were dated to between 3.9 and 4.2 million years ago.

It is now believed to be a direct ancestor of Australopithecus Afarensis
that lived a few hundred thousand years before.

Australopithecus anamensis has a combination of traits found in
both apes and humans. The upper end of the tibia (shin bone) shows an
expanded area of bone and a human-like orientation of the ankle joint,
indicative of regular


walking. Long forearms and features of the wrist bones suggest that the
species regularly climbed trees as well.

Turkana Boy (Nariokotome Boy)

Turkana Boy is the name given to a skeleton belonging to a boy who lived
1.6 million years ago. The species was found by Kamoya Kimeu who is one
of the most important fossil collectors in the world.

It was an almost complete skeleton with 108 bones, making it the most
complete early human species fossil. The age of Turkana boy at death has
been variously  estimated to be from 6 years old to 15 years old.
The current consensus is that Turkana boy was approximatelty 8 years old
at death.

His assigned species is Homo Erectus. He was 5 feet tall and it is
estimated that he would have grown to 6 feet tall. His assigned species
is Homo Ergaster.

Homo Rudolfensis

This fossil skull was found at Koobi Fora in Northern Kenya in 1972
by Bernard Ngeneo who was also working for Richard and Maeve Leakey. It
was dated to 1.9 million which is around the time when Homo Habilis
existed. However it has larger brain size than Homo Habilis and larger


Kenyanthropus Platyops

The remains of this species was found in 1999 by Justus Erus who was
working for Maeve Leakey. It was dated to 3.5 million years ago. It had
a number of primitive features such as a small brain. But it also had a
number of features associated with the genus homo such as a flat face
and smaller teeth.

Since no other fossils of this species have been found, its
classification is highly tentative.

Paranthropus Boisei

The first fossils of these species were discovered at Olduvai Gorge in
Tanzania in 1959 by Mary Leakey.
She and her husband (Louis Leakey) named the species Zinjanthropus
Boisei. Additional fossils were found at Koobi Foora in Kenya’s Lake
Turkana region.

It is characterized by large teeth, in some cases twice the size of
those of modern humans, its enamel was thicker than those of any known
early human. Its most distinctive feature is the flaring cheekbones, a
saggital crest on top of the skull thatw as used to anchor the chewing
muscles. Its brain size between 500cc and 550cc was larger than
Paranthropus Aethiopicus. Sexual dimorphism is far less pronounced in
this species.

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Historic win for Kenya over Portugal

Saturday May 30 2015 is one of the days that will be remembered in the annals of Kenya rugby history. On this day, Kenya beat Portugal. But they did not just beat them, they demolished them by a score of 41-15.

Its a momentous win because Portugal is a European team that is ranked 10 places ahead of Kenya at number 23 in the IRB standings. Portugal has better rugby structures and better rugby infrastructure. For Kenya to dispatch them rather easily is an enormous achievement.

Match Video

Beating a team of higher pedigree

“Beating Portugal who are ranked 23rd in the world, nine positions in front of Kenya, is a good achievement that Kenya must build on going forward.” said Jerome Paarwater, Kenya’s South African coach.

Kenya rugby has indeed come of age. Whereas in the past they would succumb to bigger more aggressive packs, Kenya is now able to hold their own against bigger packs such as the one presented by Portugal.

“The Portuguese were bigger but my charges were stronger and fast. But that came at a price since the players and the technical bench have sacrificed to work hard on it,” continued Paarwater.

Kenya was also playing against a Portuguese side that beat Namibia 20-14 last year in Windhoek. They were likely expecting a similar result or better against Kenya. It is a Portuguese side that this season has had a chance to measure their strength against strong European sides in the European six nations B such as Georgia, Russia, Spain and Romania. Portugal also qualified for the world cup in 2007, something Kenya has yet to accomplish.

What this shows is that Kenya rugby is growing and has made significant strides. For Kenya fans, it is a welcome win for a fan base that was despondent after narrowly failing to qualify for the world cup and not playing in the 2015 Vodacom cup.


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Kemboi as baack ! and Sum still invincible

Eunice Sum and Ezekiel Kemboi were the only Kenyan winners at the 2015 Prefontaine classic in Eugene Oregon. This meet is part of the 2015 Diamond League circuit.

Kemboi still King

Ezekiel Kemboi is one of the greatest athletes Kenya has ever produced. A true legend, he has been dominating the 3000m steeplechase event for a decade, winning multiple world championships, Commonwealth and Olympic gold medals. Such consistency and longeveity is rarely seen in Kenyan athletes.

However the 2014 season w a down one for Kemboi. For the first time, he looked over the hill and ready to cede the crown to Jairus Birech who thoroughly dominated this event in 2014.

However on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon, at the Prefontaine classic, Kemboi dispelled any notion that he was ready to step aside. Both  Kemboi and Birech ran faster than the meeting record of 8:03.59. The two Kenyans were the only two remaining contenders at the final water jump. Kemboi emerged with a slight lead off the barrier and held it all the way to the finish, winning in 8:01.71 with Birech second in 8:01.83.

Sum edges Ajee Wilson in the 800m

Eunice Sum, the world and commonwealth games champion, continued her brilliant streak with a narrow win over local crowd favourite and USA’s 2012 world junior champion Ajee Wilson

Sum and Ajee came home clear of their rivals. Ajee Wilson with a shot of adrenalin from the crowd support gave Sum a scare. But Sum just held off the American and took the win, and the world lead, in 1:57.82. Wilson was just 0.2 away from her personal best in second place with 1:57.87.

Farah proves he is still the man to beat

Kenya’s world cross country champion and world half marathin champion Ezekiel Kamwror is the man whom Kenyans are counting on to end the reign of Mo Farah as 10,000m champion. However on Saturday, Farah in a masterful display, showed that Kamworor still has a long way to go. Farah won the race in 26:50.97, Paul Tanui of Kenya was second in 26:51.86  with Kamworor third in 26:52.65

It was a good learning experience for Kamworor. With the 10,000m race rarely featured, he has had very few opportunities to sharpen his tactics. And against a masterful tactician like Farah, he will need to get his tactical approach in order before the world championships.

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Muzina by Tabu Ley (Lyrics and translation)

The album “Muzina” was released in 1994. The title track is actually a gospel song in which Tabu Ley exhorts everyone to pray to God, praise God and thank God for his blessings.

During this period, Tabu Ley had run afoul of Zairean president Mobutu sese Seko who threatened him after Tabu Ley had criticized him. Fearing for his life, Tabu Ley left Zaire and settled in California where he released a number of albums including Muzina.

Perhaps it was coming to terms with his own mortality that compelled Tabu Ley to sing a gospel song

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MP Silva should blame themselves for FKF saga

Back in January of 2015, MP Silva, an international media rights company based in London signed a lucrative deal with Football Kenya Federation (FKF). The deal was worth Ksh 270 million per year to FKF. It is the kind of deal that has never been signed by any Kenyan sports league or club. FKF were ecstatic and Sam Nyamweya announced that this was the happiest day of his life.

The deal was announced during the period when FKF was wrangling with Kenya Premier League clubs to determine whether FKF would run the local league or whether it would continue to be run by clubs as is the case currently. Naturally, KPL clubs want to control their own destiny while FKF officials want access to the massive amounts of money on offer from MP Silva. Indeed the entry of MP Silva with a gigantic deal for FKF is likely what caused the latest round of wrangles between FKF and KPL as each side wrestled for control of broadcast money.

Sam Nyamweya with Rhys Torrington signing the deal in January


MP Silva have now pulled out of the deal citing dissatisfaction with the quality of the FKF Premier League and the fact that one of Kenya’s two biggest clubs, presumably Gor Mahia or AFC Leopards is not part of the league as had been assured.

MP Silva are also raising concerns of an apparent discrepancy in the contracts sent in soft and hard copies and wants it explained while it is also perturbed that no local Free to Air operator has been convinced to take up the role of broadcasting the FKF PL.

A third issue raised by MP Silva is the ambiguity of their broadcast arrangement for Harambee Stars and the GoTV shield.

Did MP Silva try to muscle in?

One can state with a measure of confidence that MP Silva knew that KPL teams had a standing contract with Supersport. Why then did they use the back door to try and muscle their way into getting broadcasting rights for the top Kenyan league. One would think they would try and open up discussions with the KPL and offer a better deal to KPL clubs than the one offered by Supersport. This would have been better than going to FKF and using the FKF to try and muscle their way in.

Trust Issues

If MP Silva had done any basic research on the internet they would have found out that the current crop of leaders at FKF, namely Sam Nyamweya and Robert Asembo have a history of to put it mildly “lack of accountability”. It therefore comes as no surprise to anyone that FKF would forge documents as alleged by MP Silva, nor should it surprise anyone that FKF would make promises they are unable to meet. A company of MP Silva’s calibre should have done their homework prior to entering into business with FKF. That is unless they got into business with FKF precisely because they lack transparency. That might explain why they would simply give millions of shillings to FKF officials without demanding a measure of accountability.

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Congratulations to Julius Yego for a new Kenya record

Julius Yego who has already attained legendary status by winning the 2014 commonwealth games gold medal and by coming within a whisker of winning an Olympic medal, further cemented his place in the pantheon of Kenya’s all time greats by winning the Javelin at the 2015 Ostrava world challenge. In the process he set a new national record.

Yego was stuck in ninth place after two rounds and needed a good throw in the third round to stay in the competition. Rather than succumb to the pressure, he tossed the javelin a distance of 86.88m which was enough not just to win the event but to set a new Kenya record. Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki who has dominated this event in the past few years finished third.

Yego’s toss makes him the third best African ever at this event, behind only Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed of Egypt (89.21 m)and Marius Corbett of South Africa (88.40m) . Yego’s performance is also the 45th best all time performance in the Javelin. Its a commendable performance for Julius Yego in an event that Kenya never produces world class performers and the number of world class Africans are few and far between.

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Brilliant game for Mike Okoth Origi in 1999

This is a Belgian league match between Mike Origi’s KRC Genk and Sint Truiden during the 1999-2000 season. Mike Origi had a superb game scoring two goals, creating numerous chances one of which ended up in a goal.

In this match, Origi shows why for 10 years, he was a succesful professional plying his trade in a top tier European league. Something that is still rare today. Very few Kenyans have made it in Europe. It is especially difficult for attacking players. The only other Kenyan attacking player who succeeded in Europe was Dennis Oliech.

What makes it more amazing is that Mike Okoth started out as a goalkeeper. In fact when Iterio secondary won the national schools title in 1987, Okoth Origi was the goalkeeper. He transitioned to a striker after the 1988 season.

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Nairobi Floods 2015

In May of 2015, the city of Nairobi came to a standstill due to heavy and relentless rains that pounded the city. The rain cause massive floods that were exacerbated by the city’s poor drainage system and poor or non-existent urban planning.

Drivers abandoned their cars as they were engulfed or carried away by water. Houses were flooded by rushing water. Some schools closed. Workers were unable to get to work.

The South C neighbourhood was the worst hit, earning itself the nickname “South sea”


Minibuses in the South C neighbourhood submerged


A few intrepid drivers tried to drive through the floods


A few unlucky drivers who tried to drive through the floods never made it

Many drivers had to abandon their cars


Members of the public help bail out a stranded driver


This school bus belonging to Makini school, was stranded for 10 hours with students trapped inside.

A motorist who had to abandon his vehicle, struggles to make it across rushing waters

With many cars incapacitated, many commuters had to resort to rickshaws, locally known as Mkokoteni..

Nairobi’s Pangani neighbourhood


Many houses were flooded


On a lighter note, Drinking beer is Kenya’s national pastime and these revelers were not deterred by the floods.


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2015 NCAA roundup: Joel Awich

Joel Awich is a Junior (3rd year) forward at Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University). The 6’7″ Awich, is known for his athleticism. He is most effective when in transition, where he can use his foot-speed  and superlative leaping ability to finish fast breaks with a thunderous dunk.

In the 2014-2015 season, Awich was in the starting line-up for most games. His scoring average was 8.7 points per game, which is double what it was last season. Though not the tallest player on the team, Awich led his team in blocks with 1.3 blocks per game. This is largely thanks to his athletic ability. He was second on the team in rebounding with 6.1 rebounds per game.Awich played 29.3 minutes per game which was the second highest on the team.

Overall it was a dissapointing season for the Cal Poly Mustangs. They won 13 games and lost 16. Within their conference, they won 6 and lost 10.

 Joel Awich Video highlights for 2015

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