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Prehistoric Scratchpad

Lake in Kenya where many types of humans over the ages lived.


Earlier History[]

  • Nyanzapithecus alesi Miocene apes inhabited the water basin 13 million years ago.

10 Million Years Ago[]

It is likely that ape ancestors of humans and gorillas inhabited this area.

Between History[]

  • Humans and chimpanzees split about 7 million years ago
  • Australopithecus anamensis inhabited this area 4 million years ago
  • Kenyanthropus platops inhabited this area 3.3 million years ago, who could possibly be the earliest tool-users known.
  • Homo rudolfensis (originally thought to be Homo habilis) inhabited this area 2 million years ago
  • Homo erectus infected by herpes when it ate infected P. boisei meat 2 million years ago, which itself had received it from eating infected chimpanzee. Lake Turkana could have been a meeting ground for the two homonids.
  • A Homo erectus (originally dubbed a Homo ergaster) known as Turkana Boy lived here 1.5 million years ago. Humans around the same time period walked like modern day humans do and left their footprints.
  • Homo erectus was known to live in the Olorgesailie Basin in South Kenya 1.2 MA.

1 Million Years Ago[]

Homo erectus likely still inhabited this area.

Between History[]

100,000 Years Ago[]

It is possible that Homo sapiens were inhabiting the area, possibly of the idaitu subspecies.

Between History[]

  • The earliest harpoons exhibited were created 13,000 years ago.

10,000 Years Ago[]

The lake was larger than it is today and hosted abundant wildlife. It's possible that this increased the hunter gatherer human population enough so that they encountered each more frequently than otherwise. There is evidence of one of the earliest episodes of human warfare at the time. Skulls were identified with weapon damage and many unburied dead found here. Arrowheads of obsidian were found here.

Between History[]

  • The most recent harpoons exhibited were created 6,000 years ago.
  • Basalt pillars mark burial grounds in 300 BC at Kalokol Pillar Site at Namoratunga II. These stones were organized to align with 7 star systems: Triangulum, Pleiades, Bellatrix, Aldebaran, Central Orion, Saiph, and Sirius. They may have been used for the Cushitic lunar calendar, which the Turkana observed to plan their rituals.
  • Earliest rock art in the area was 2000 years ago

1000 AD[]

This area was still forested. The forest dwelling hunter-gatherer Ndorobo people who were closely related to the pygmies were present and created rock art.

Later History[]

  • At some point, the forests left this area.

Modern History[]

  • In 1972, a homo habilis was found
  • In 1978, the Kalokol Pillar Site was discovered by archaeologists. Local legend says that these stones were human beings petrified by the devil.
  • In 1984, the Turkana Boy homo erectus was found
  • In 1995 an Australopithecus anamensis was found which pushed the emergence of bipedalism back half a million years.


Lake Turkana Web Pages[]

Lake Turkana In the News[]

Stone Tool Discovery Pushes Archaeological Record by 700KA (May 2015)[]

Digital Fossil Finders (Nov 2015)[]

1.5 Million Year Old Footprints Analysed (Jul 2016)[]

10000 Year Old Turf War (Dec 2016)[]

Locals Haven't Benefited From Discoveries (Mar 2017)[]

Genetic Info in Glycans Could Survive African Climate (Sep 2017)[]

Harpoons Exhibited (Feb 2017)[]

Eocene Ape Found (Aug 2017)[]

Paleontologist Tour Guide (Aug 2017)[]

Paranthropus Boise May Have Transmitted Herpes to H. Erectus (Oct 2017)[]



  • Nataruk Site - Location of 10,000 year old massacre
  • Lomekwi 3 Site - Earlist stone artifacts found yet, 3.3 MA.
  • Surima, Marti, and Afgaba - 3 sites containing 1-2KA rock art.
  • Lokori - Contains some important relatively recent burial sites
  • Namoratunga - Site that means dancing stones, contains rock pillars also known as Kalokol Pillar Site

Virtual Tourism[]

Related Pages[]