Kibish Research Project

Kibish_mapFirst discovered in 1967 by a team led by Richard Leakey, the Kibish Formation in southwestern Ethiopia produced some of the earliest known fossils of anatomically modern humans. In subsequent years, there h ave been some major questions among researchers concerning the age and provenience of the important fossils from Omo-Kibish. To address these issues, in 1999 I initiated the resumption of the research activity at Kibish and co-directed (with John Fleagle and Frank Brown) four successful multi-disciplinary expeditions through 2003. The recent stratigraphic and geochronometric studies at Omo-Kibish have revised the age of the human skeletal remains to about 195,000 years, making them the earliest known fossils of anatomically modern humans. Moreover, this project has also yielded rich cultural remains comprising a variety of Middle Stone Age artifacts and a large number of faunal remains, including mammals, birds, and fish. The results of this recent work in Omo-Kibish can be found in a special volume of the Journal of Human Evolution (2008, v. 55, no. 3).