The Tugen Hills represent one of the few areas in Africa preserving a succession of deposits from the period of between 14 and 4 million years ago, making them an important location for the study of human (and animal) evolution. Excavations at the site conducted by Richard Leakey and others have yielded a complete skeleton of a 1.5-million-year-old elephant (1967), a new species of monkey (1969) and fossil remains of hominids from 1 to 2 million years ago.
Six-million-year-old hominid fossils were discovered here in 2000 by Brigitte Senut and Martin Pickford; the species was named Orrorin tugenensis after the location. This was the oldest hominid ever discovered in Kenya, and the second oldest in the world after Sahelanthropus tchadensis.
- "First chimpanzee fossils found". BBC News. 2005-08-31. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- Senut, Brigitte; Pickford, Martin; Gommery, Dominique; Mein, Pierre; Cheboi, Kiptalam; Coppens, Yves (2001). "First hominid from the Miocene (Lukeino Formation, Kenya)" (PDF). Comptes Rendus de l'Académie de Sciences 332 (2): 140. Bibcode:2001CRASE.332..137S. doi:10.1016/S1251-8050(01)01529-4. Retrieved December 2010.
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