Whether you have a particular interest in or want to gain more insights into anthropology and archeology, Koobi Fora is one of the must-see places in Kenya.
Located in the vicinity of Lake Turkana, which is in the Rift Valley province, and about 746 km drive away from Nairobi, Koobi Fora got its name from ‘commiphora’ (source of myrrh), a common plant growing in the hot and arid area of the site inhabited by the Gabbra people.
1968 marked the beginning of research work in this area. The investigators’ efforts soon yielded results, unraveling hominid fossils dating back to the Plio/Pleistocene age. All of these were recovered from seven localities, the largest of which is East of Lake Turkana.
Koobi Fora stretches out along an area of 700 square miles comprising of fluvial and lacustine sediments, which are the result of continuous deposition from the Pliocene (5 million years ago) to the Early Pleistocene (1 million years ago), experts say. Over 70 hominid fossils have been unearthed over the years. One specific model, Australopithecus Sensu Lato, was said to be 2 million years old. Looking at the element, researchers explain that little morphological change has taken place throughout this period. The same features have been preserved both in fossils discovered at Koobi Fora as well as on other sites in East Africa. Before 1960, most of the discoveries regarding the evolution of mankind during early Pleistocene were limited to the southern parts of Africa. Most of the evidence related to early hominid development was obtained from North Kenya. 87 hominid fossil hominid specimens were unearthed between 1968 and 1972. Stone artefacts as well as animal and plant fossils have been recovered, among these several giraffines.
The first Australopithecus skull was discovered here by Dr. Richard Leakey. Other specimens, such as Homo Habilis and Homo Erectus were also discovered in this area by Bernard Ngeyes and Kimeu Kimoya, one of Dr. Leakey’s research assistants. Around 200 individual hominid and a considerable number of animal skulls were unearthed until 1994, which represents more than all the other major fossil sites around the globe had ever yielded in 60 years. In other words, if you want to know where history began, go to Koobi Fora.