• Short Summary


    An expedition from the National Museum of Kenya has discovered the most complete skeleton ever found of an early human ancestor.

  • Description

    1. GV EXTERIOR Nairobi museum. 0.05
    2. SV INTERIOR Director of National Museum of Kenya, Dr. Richard Leakey, seated beside his assistant Kamoya Kimeu, who found the first fragment of the skull. 0.20
    3. CU Skull of boy discovered west of Lake Turkana, Kenya. (2 SHOTS) 0.32
    4. CU Other bones of Homo Erectus. 0.42
    5. SV Dr. Leakey explaining the finds. (English SOT) 1.39
    LEAKEY: (SEQ 5) The individual was a child, and a boy, who died at about the age of twelve years and died 1.6 million years ago. We're certain of that date because the fossils were found between two volcanic horizons that can be dated by a method known as potassium and the date is 1.6. This then is certain. One of the most surprising things about this individual is that even though he died as a young boy he was already large -- probably 5 foot 2 or 5 foot 3 (1.57 to 1.59 metres). And I would guess he would have grown into an individual of more than six feet, a strapping lad and quite different from what we had thought about the size of our immediate ancestors. There is a good deal to be learned about the species immediately preceding our own when we come to study this extraordinary array of complete anatomical remains that has now been found.

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: NAIROBI, KENYA

    An expedition from the National Museum of Kenya has discovered the most complete skeleton ever found of an early human ancestor. The skeleton is that of Homo Erectus and was recovered from a 1.6 million-year-old site west of Lake Turkana. A small skull fragment was found in August this year by Kamoya Kimeu of the Museum's fossil-hunting them. Subsequent excavations by the National Museum's director Richard Leakey and other archaeologists led to the recovery of the greater part of a single skeleton. The remains are of a male, about 12 years old, who was of above average height compared to the modern human of equivalent age. Though scientists have generally assumed that early humans were smaller than we are today, the discovery confirms theories that Homo Erectus was a tall as modern people. Before this find, only a the skulls of Homo Erectus were reasonably well known. Now scientists will be able to study for the first time the anatomy of many previously unknown parts of the skeleton which can provide valuable insights into the growth and development of early hominids. Commenting on the discovery which he described as "an extraordinary array of anatomical finds", Dr. Leakey said the remains had been accurately dated by a process known as potassium argon. This method determines the time of origin of rocks by measuring the ratio of radioactive argon to radioactive potassium in the rock.


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