Students check sieve for fossils with Professor Bobe

This weekend TBI Students completed their third course, Vertebrate Paleontology and Ancient Environments in the Turkana Basin. The course was taught by René Bobe with contributions by Frederick Kyalo Manthi and Meave Leakey.

Students learned about vertebrate osteology, the evolutionary history of the major groups of mammals in the region as well as how to identify them, and how to carry out basic taphonomic and paleoecological analyses. The class quickly learned to recognize fossil from stone after a few field trips.

Francis helps students clean fossils in the lab

Students also conducted research projects using the Turkana Database. The Turkana Database has almost 17,000 records of fossil specimens collected in the Turkana Basin. The database was primarily compiled by René Bobe with help from Anna K. Behrensmeyer. This vast collection of information is free and open to the public. Student research topics included analyses of Cercopithecinae species abundance over time, Suid teeth, carnivores, a comparison of Equids and Bovids, and a reconstruction of the paleoenvironments ofAustralopithecus anamensis in Kanapoi and Allia Bay.

TBI students conduct a hill crawl

Carefully searching for fossils

Sweeping the excavation area for sieving

Roy helps with sieving

Hui, Elaine, Jenna and Alex sweep the excavation area

Finished sieving!

Sunset at TBI Turkwel

A praying mantis in the student dormitory