The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

A new 1 million-year-old hominid distal ulna and other 2012 fossil discoveries from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania


1Human Evolution Research Center, University of California Berkeley, 2Dept. of Integrative Biology, University of California Berkeley, 3Dept. of Geological Sciences, Indiana University

Friday 8:00-8:15, Ballroom B Add to calendar

The Olduvai Vertebrate Paleontology Project recovered close to 400 specimens during the course of our 2012 field season at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. We focused our collection mostly on the eastern part of the main Gorge. These fossils were recovered primarily from Beds I, II, and III. All of these fossils are catalogued in the online Comprehensive Olduvai Database Initiative at, including photographs. The mammalian part of the assemblage includes, Artiodactyla: Bovidae n=195, Giraffidae n=6, Hippopotamidae n=8, Suidae n=12; Carnivora n=21; Insectivora n=1; Perissodactyla: Rhinocerotidae n=6, Equidae n=66; Proboscidea: Elephantidae n=2, Deinotheriidae n=1; Rodentia: Hystricidae n=1.

The primate fossils are primarily Cercopithecidae, including a right mandibular fragment of Theropithecus with P3-M3 from Upper Bed II. A primate distal ulna was recovered from Bed III sediments on the north side of Main Gorge, immediately west of the Third Fault (~4.7 km from the junction). The age of these sediments places this specimen at approximately 1 million-years-old. This ulnar fragment preserves the distal end of a fairly robust adult, with a styloid process and extensor carpi ulnaris groove characteristic of the Hominidae. These two fossils and some of the other more complete fossils we discovered will be discussed.

This research is supported by the National Science Foundation award no. 1025263.

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