Homo erectus
KNMWT 15000 b
Age approx. 1.53 Million Years Digital Capture: Photogrammetry
Nariokotome Boy or Turkana Boy

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This skull belongs to the 1.6 million year old skeleton of Homo erectus found at Nariokotome on the west side of Lake Turkana, sometimes referred to as the “Turkana Boy” or the “Nariokotome Boy”. The discovery was made by Kamoya Kimeu, on a Sunday morning in August 1984. He was walking up a gentle slope on the southern side of the seasonal Nariokotome River when he spotted a matchbox sized skull fragment, which he recognized as belonging to a human ancestor. No one could have imagined that such a complete specimen would be recovered from this unlikely location. As the excavation of the hillside progressed more pieces of skull, teeth, and then ribs began to be uncovered. This turned into one of the most exciting excavations of arguably the most important fossils discovered in east Africa.  If Homo erectus grew up like a modern human, the Turkana Boy would have been about 12 years old, as it’s baby upper canines have not yet been lost. However studies of tooth development suggest that Homo erectus grew up more quickly than modern humans and the Turkana Boy was likely to have been 8 years old when he died. Due to its completeness, this skeleton provides unprecedented insight into the body shape, brain size and development of Homo erectus. The Turkana Boy was surprisingly tall, 5’3” (1.6 meters) although he was still an adolescent. He had a slender body well adapted to living in hot climates. Homo erectus was the first human ancestor to migrate out of Africa 1.8 million years ago. Several specimens have also been recovered from sites in China, Indonesia, and Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia.


The specimens displayed on this site are published specimens unless otherwise indicated. The information about the artifacts on this site is of a general nature only and unless otherwise indicated, has been written either by members of the African Fossils team, the National Museums of Kenya or the Turkana Basin Institute. The printed models are not of a high enough resolution to enable accurate scientific measurements and have generated using photogrammetry and in some cases low resolution digital models have been generated using laser scanners.

The information in this site is subject to change without notice.

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