Materials

The primary data analyzed in this study derive from collections housed at the National Museums of Kenya and the National Museum of Ethiopia. The published record of fossil mammals from the Turkana Basin has been compiled into a database that uses FileMaker Pro software (Bobe and Behrensmeyer, 2007). The Turkana Basin Paleontology Database currently has about 16,500 records of fossil mammals from geological formations on both sides of Lake Turkana that span in time from the late Miocene to the early Pleistocene. The database includes all published mammals from the Nawata (Lothagam), Kanapoi, Nachukui (West Turkana), and Koobi Fora (East Turkana) Formations. The Turkana database is scheduled to be posted online by the National Museums of Kenya and the Smithsonian Institution. Data from the lower Omo Valley were first computerized by

Lake Turkana Map
Fig. 15.1 Schematic map of the Omo-Turkana Basin, including Lake Turkana and the lower Omo Valley. Grey shading depicts geological formations discussed in the text. Inset shows the Turkana Basin in the context of eastern Africa (Redrawn from Feibel et al., 1989).

Gerald Eck working with the American contingent of the International Omo Research Expedition under the direction of F. Clark Howell (Eck, 2007). The Omo database is also in FileMaker Pro and includes nearly 24,000 records from the Mursi, Usno, and Shungura Formations. A separate Shungura database is maintained by Zeresenay Alemseged and includes records collected by the French contingent of the International Omo Research Expedition (Alemseged et al., 2007). The analyses in this study use data from the Turkana Basin Paleontology Database and the American Shungura database. Each record includes museum catalogue information as well as details regarding locality, age, publication, and various attributes of the specimens themselves, for the major groups of fossil mammals. Table 15.2 provides a summary of abundance among the main bovid tribes in the Plio-Pleistocene Omo-Turkana Basin.

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