The Elements of Evolution (59) Kenyanthropus


One of the main conclusions from discovering Kenyanthropus was that human evolution is a mosaic process, with different species showing unexpected combinations of anatomy. ~ English anthropologist Charles Lockwood

Kenyanthropus platyops (“flat-faced man of Kenya”) (3.5–3.2 MYA). The fossils of K. platyops were discovered in Lake Turkana, Kenya in 1999.

Kenyanthropus had a broad, flat face; striking with its high cheek bone and flat plane behind its nose bone. Its toe bone suggests that Kenyanthropus walked upright. Teeth were intermediate between ape and human characteristics. Its small ear hole is like that of a chimp. Its small brain fits with other early hominids.

Whether Kenyanthropus represents a new genus, a species of Australopithecus, or merely an Au. afarensis individual remains unsettled. It has been suggested that Kenyanthropus was one of numerous hominid species around that time, each adapted to a specific environment: that is, a product of adaptive radiation.