The large-mammal fauna from the Kibish Formation

Zelalem Assefa, Solomon Yirga, Kaye Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The Kibish faunal remains are useful for reconstructing the habitat of the earliest documented Homo sapiens and for understanding the community within which early modern humans existed. A diverse assemblage of large mammals, including many species of bovids, suids, and equids, has been recovered from the Kibish Formation. There are no extinct large mammals represented in the fossil assemblage, and the overall taxonomic composition of the fossil fauna is similar to the modern-day wildlife community living near the Omo River. The fossil faunal assemblage shows a paucity of arboreal primates, and carnivore species are rare. However, the faunal sample includes possible Cephalophus (duiker) remains and Hylochoerus meinertzhageni (giant forest hog), taxa that are extremely rare in the African fossil record, and both indicate more closed habitats. Comparative analyses of the Kibish faunal remains using the ecological-diversity approach document close associations with edaphic grassland and woodland vegetation types. These vegetation forms are similar to current habitats surrounding the Omo River.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-512
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of human evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • East Africa
  • Ethiopia
  • Extant fauna
  • Hylochoerus
  • Kibish
  • Middle Stone Age
  • Paleoecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology


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