Freshwater stingrays from the Plio-Pleistocene of the Turkana Basin, Kenya and Ethiopia



The fossil freshwater stingray from the Turkana Basin of Kenya and Ethiopia is redescribed and reassigned to Dasyatis africana (Arambourg) on the basis of extensive new collections. The ray apparently evolved into an endemic freshwater species derived from a stock which entered the Turkana Basin from the Indian Ocean at about 1.9 Ma. At that time, the ancestral Omo River system flowed through a major lake and exited to the southeast. A fluvial corridor, termed the Turkana River, connected the Turkana Basin with the Indian Ocean. Once established in the basin, the rays flourished and persisted for over half a million years. Their extinction has been placed subsequent to 1.3 Ma, and likely reflects the changing environmental and tectonic conditions recorded in subsequent strata. The fluvial corridor which formed the route of migration into the Turkana Basin has important implications for modern African biogeography as well as that of the past. □Turkana Basin, Kenya, Ethiopia, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Stingrays, Dasyatidae.