Omo Group Research Expedition (OGRE)

Shungura Formation, Lower Omo Valley, southwestern Ethiopia

Nature’s laboratory for understanding the evolution
of a rift ecosystem and of its peopling during the Plio-Pleistocene

Principal investigator

Research question

Based on a continuous record from 3.6 Ma to 1 Ma, the OGRE work aims at deciphering the interactions between environmental changes and the evolution of vertebrates that lived in a rift valley in relation to the emergence of genus Homo, and of the development of the first stone tools.

Some results

Since 2006, thousands of vertebrate remains were unearthed at Shungura, including several tens of human fossils, as well as many occurrences of stone tools.

The ecology of Shungura fossil vertebrates suggest mixed evolutionary responses to various different environmental factors: limited in response to the drying related to the northern hemisphere glaciations; more significant in correlation to changes of the hydrographic dynamics.

Mission organization

The OGRE is a transdisciplinary research mission (paleontology, prehistory, geology, paleoenvironments) led at PALEVOPRIM in tight partnership with the French Center for Ethiopian Studies, and notably involving the CNRS labs PACEA and IPGS, the Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Human Evolution Research Center.


The OGRE was funded by the French National Agency for Research (ANR), the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (Mission Paléoanthropologique dans l’Omo), the Region New-Aquitaine, the Fyssen Foundation, the CNRS, the labex LaSCArBX, Total, the France-Berkeley Fund.

Find out more

OGRE : Website under construction

CFEE (French Center for Ethiopian Studies)

Iconic publications

Daver G., Berillon G., Jacquier C., Ardagna Y., Yadeta M., Maurin T., Souron A., Blondel C., Coppens Y., Boisserie J.-R., sous presse. New hominin postcranial remains from locality OMO 323, Shungura Formation, Lower Omo Valley, southwestern Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution.

Maurin T., Bertran P., Delagnes A., Boisserie J.-R., 2017. Early hominin landscape use in the Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia: insights from the taphonomical analysis of Oldowan occurrences in the Shungura Formation (Member F). Journal of Human Evolution 111, 33-53.

Bibi F., Souron A., Bocherons H., Uno K., Boisserie J.-R., 2013. Ecological change in the Lower Omo Valley around 2.8 Ma. Biology Letters 9 (1), 20120890.

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., Hlukso 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


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