The Emergence of genus Homo, consequence of environmental changes: the Omo contribution

Reconstructing the environmental dynamics experienced
by our ancestors by studying a sedimentary sequence in Ethiopia

Principal investigators

Type of project

ECCE OMO is research project granted by the Region New Aquitaine, 2017-2021.

Research question

The geological formation of Shungura (Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia) is known for its exceptional record of human evolution. ECCE OMO aims at identifying the main factors that led to the deposition of the sedimentary layers of this formation by coupling sedimentological and geochemical approaches.

Some results

The first results show that the Shungura Formation was mainly deposited in subaquatic environment (delta or lake). Of the 2-million-years sequence, only 800,000 years correspond to a riparian environment. Five sequence boundaries separate the different deposition environmnet between 3.6 Ma and 1.76 Ma.

In order to determine the controls of these sequences and the main factors of sedimentation, 150 samples are currently analyzed for characterizing their clay composition, which are related to climatic conditions.


In the framework of the scientific partnership dynamization within the New Aquitaine, ECCE OMO brings together the UMR PALEVOPRIM and PACEA (University of Bordeaux) while benefiting from co-funding by the ANR project OLD. The project is also based on a partnership dedicated to knowledge diffusion with the National Museum of Prehistory of the Eyzies-de-Tayac and Espace Mendès-France in Poitiers.

Find out more



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