History of Paleoanthropological Research in the Galili area

The paleoanthropological potential of the Galili area was first identified in 1991 by the Paleoanthropological Inventory of Ethiopia Project led by Dr. Berhane Asfaw.  Systematic research of the area was initially conducted by a team led by Yohannes Haile-Selassie between 1997 and 1999 and resulted in the recovery of a number of fossils including three hominin teeth attributed to Australopithecus anamensis. The deposits were estimated to span between 3.4 – >4.0 Ma based on the biochronology of the associated fauna and geochronology of a capping basalt layer.

Between 2000 and 2009, a team led by Prof. Horst Seidler surveyed the area recovering >1500 catalogued fossils including multiple hominin teeth and a significantly complete proximal femur.  Further study of the geology identified six members that spanned the entire Pliocene.

Beginning in 2016, field research at Galili was restarted by a team led by Scott W. Simpson (Case Western Reserve University), Jay Quade (University of Arizona), and Hasen Said (Addis Ababa University).  With funding from the National Science Foundation, we have conducted three field seasons, recovering more than 1400 fossils including hominin dental and upper limb fossils.