Mission Paléoanthropologique dans l’Omo

Developing an interdisciplinary research project
in the framework of an international collaboration

Principal investigators

Type of project

French ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (consulting commission of archeological research in foreign countries), since 2007.

Research question

The Mission Paléoanthropologique dans l’Omo constitute the multidisciplinary field component of the Omo Group Research Expedition. It develops a transdisciplinary approach of the biological and cultural evolution of fossil humans from the Shungura Formation (Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia) in their environmental framework.

Some results

The MPO has unearthed several thousand of fossil vertebrates older than 1 million years, including several dozens of human remains, as well as several hundred of archeological occurrences, while documenting the changes in vegetation, seasonalities, and aquatic habitats.

These field discoveries contribute to describe major changes in habitats and in faunal composition. The MPO works also allow reevaluating one of the world oldest stone tool production dated to 2.3 million years ago.


The MPO is led by PALEVOPRIM and is based on an international academic partnership (see webpage for OGRE). The MPO is also strongly involved with the French Center for Ethiopian Studies and the Embassy of France to Ethiopia in cooperation actions aiming at training technicians and Ethiopian researchers, to develop infrastructures for research and for knowledge dissemination in this country.

Find out more

Iconic publications

Bibi F., Souron A., Bocherens H., Uno K., Boisserie J.-R., 2013. Ecological change in the lower Omo Valley around 2.8 Ma. Biology Letters 9, 1–4.

Maurin T., Delagnes A., Boisserie J.-R., 2014. Spatial behaviours of early Oldowan toolmakers in the Shungura Formation (Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia): proposal for an integrated approach. Comptes Rendus Palevol 13, 737–746.

Souron A., Balasse M., Boisserie J.-R., 2012. Intra-tooth isotopic profiles of canines from extant Hippopotamus amphibius and late Pliocene hippopotamids (Shungura Formation, Ethiopia): insights into the seasonality of diet and climate. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 342–343, 97–110.

Delagnes A., Boisserie J.-R., Beyene Y., Chuniaud K., Guillemot C., Schuster M., 2011. Archaeological investigations in the Lower Omo Valley (Shungura Formation, Ethiopia): new data and perspectives. Journal of Human Evolution 61, 215–222.

Boisserie J.-R., Guy F., Delagnes A., Hlusko L.J., Bibi F., Beyene Y., Guillemot C., 2008. New palaeoanthropological research in the Plio-Pleistocene Omo Group, Lower Omo Valley, SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities and People Regions), Ethiopia. Comptes Rendus Palevol 7, 429–439.



Tél. : +33 (0)5 49 45 37 53

Guylaine REYNAUD

Tél. : +33 (0)5 49 45 37 26

Fax : +33.(0)5 49 45 40 17


Université de Poitiers – UFR SFA


Bât B35 – TSA 51106

6 rue Michel Brunet

86073 POITIERS Cedex 9