Koobi Fora Publications

Plio Pleistocene Excavations

Hominin Technology and Subsistence

The adaptive significance of stone artifacts remains a largely unexplored factor in the course of human evolution. Evidence that technological strategies are coupled with ecological resource structure would suggest that flaked stone technology contributed significantly to Pliocene hominin adaptive strategies. Such technological decisions, as recorded in stone artifact morphology may represent a cultural system comprising complex strategies of resource use in a dynamic environment (Binford 1973; Schiffer 1976; Shott 1989, Schick 1987, Toth 1987). 

Braun DR, Harris JWK, Levin NE, McCoy JT, Herries AIR, Bamford MK, Bishop LC, Richmond BG, Kibunjia M. 2010. Early hominin diet included diverse terrestrial and aquatic animals 1.95 Ma in East Turkana, Kenya. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(22): 10002.

Patterson, D.B., Braun, D.R., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Lehmann, S.B., Merritt, S.R., Reeves, J.S., Wood, B.A. and Bobe, R., 2017. Landscape scale heterogeneity in the East Turkana ecosystem during the Okote Member (1.56–1.38 Ma). Journal of human evolution, 112, pp.148-161.
Presnyakova, Darya, David R. Braun, Nicholas J. Conard, Craig Feibel, John WK Harris, Cornel M. Pop, Stefan Schlager, and Will Archer. "Site fragmentation, hominin mobility and LCT variability reflected in the early Acheulean record of the Okote Member, at Koobi Fora, Kenya." Journal of human evolution 125 (2018): 159-180.

The Origins of East African Pastoralism

The Galana Boi Formation, Lake Turkana, Kenya, provides so far the earliest evidence of herding in East Africa and therefore, represents a rare opportunity to study the dynamics of early pastoralist mobility and subsistence lifestyles during periods of increased climatic variability. This geological feature is intriguing because it may have been occupied by population groups that were distinct from most of those described in the African ethnographic record from the colonial period to the present (Blackburn 1974, 1982; Cronk 1989, 2002). Based on a number of archaeological studies (Dale 2007; Dale et al. 2004; Gifford et al. 1980; Lane 2004; Prendergast 2008; Ambrose 1984) from other localities in Kenya, it would appear that there was variability in hunter–gatherer and herder mobility and subsistence. 

Borona, Gloria, and Emmanuel Ndiema. "Merging research, conservation and community engagement: Perspectives from TARA's rock art community projects in Kenya." Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development 4.2 (2014): 184-195.

Ndiema E, Dillian CD, Braun DR, Harris JWK, Kiura P. 2011. Transport and subsistence patterns at the transition to pastoralism, Koobi Fora , Kenya. Archaeometry 47.

Kiura, Purity W. An ethnoarchaeology and stable isotope study on the diets of three modern groups of people in northern Kenya. RUTGERS THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY-NEW BRUNSWICK, 2006.

Insights into Human Evolution and Ancient Environments

The Koobi Fora Formation provides some of the most incredible insights into human evolution. We study a variety of different approaches to human evolution and the environmental context of these changes.


Patterson, David B., David R. Braun, Kayla Allen, W. Andrew Barr, Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Maryse Biernat, Sophie B. Lehmann et al. "Comparative isotopic evidence from East Turkana supports a dietary shift within the genus Homo." Nature ecology & evolution (2019): 1.

Lague, Michael R., Habiba Chirchir, David J. Green, Emma Mbua, John WK Harris, David R. Braun, Nicole L. Griffin, and Brian G. Richmond. "Cross-sectional properties of the humeral diaphysis of Paranthropus boisei: Implications for upper limb function." Journal of human evolution 126 (2019): 51-70.
Roach, N.T., Du, A., Hatala, K.G., Ostrofsky, K.R., Reeves, J.S., Braun, D.R., Harris, J.W., Behrensmeyer, A.K. and Richmond, B.G., 2018. Pleistocene animal communities of a 1.5 million-year-old lake margin grassland and their relationship to Homo erectus paleoecology. Journal of human evolution, 122, pp.70-83.