The new hominid species Australopithecus anamensis


  • Carol Ward,

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Carol Ward is an associate professor of anthropology and anatomy at the University of Missouri. Trained in primate and human paleontology, she has worked on Miocene to Pleistocene hominoids from East Africa.

  • Meave Leakey,

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Meave Leakey is head of the Division of Palaeontology at the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi. She has a particular interest in the anatomy and evolution of Neogene carnivores and primates, and has carried out field work in northern Kenya for the last 30 years.

  • Alan Walker

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Alan Walker is a professor of anthropology and biology at Pennsylvania State University. He has worked on the functional anatomy of fossil primates, mainly those from the Oligocene to recent of East Africa and Madagascar.


Australopithecus anamensis1 is the earliest species of this genus to have been found. Fossils attributed to A. anamensis have been recovered from sediments dating to between 3.8 and 4.2 mya at the sites of Kanapoi and Allia Bay in northern Kenya. A. anamensis is still poorly known in comparison with other early hominid species, but the material discovered so far displays primitive features along with more derived characteristics typical of later Australopithecus species. This mix of features suggests that A. anamensis belongs near the ancestry of this genus. Indeed, it may eventually be determined that this was the earliest Australopithecus species. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.