Missions in Kenya : the Lokone Primate Research Program (LPRP)

Turkana Depression, North Kenya

The oldest mammal fauna in Kenya represents a significant landmark
for the paleobiogeographic history of Eastern Africa before the Oligo-Miocene limit.

Principal investigator

Research question

This research program aims at a better understanding of the early evolutionary history of hominoid primates and of its environmental frame through the study of the vertebrate fauna, flora and geological context.

Some results

Several field missions led us to collect more than 200 fossil vertebrate remains, most of them including new and crucial taxa. For example, a new anthracothere, Epirigenys lokonensis, represents a transitional bunodont form between the older species from the Fayum (Egypt) and Asia, and the lineage leading to the first hippopotamids. It is also the very first time that a parapithecid primate is recorded from eastern Africa, and this gives us the opportunity to document the African evolutionary and phylogenetical history of non-hominoid primates outside of northern Africa, the only area where parapithecids were known so far.

Mission organization

The LPRP is a multidisciplinary program (paleontology, geology, paleoenvironments) managed by PALEVOPRIM in close collaboration with the ISEM (Montpellier) and the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi (Kenya). The coordination of the project includes Fabrice Lihoreau (ISEM, Montpellier) and Jean-Renaud Boisserie (PALEVOPRIM).


The LPRP has been funded by several ANR project, SPLASH being the most recent.

Iconic publications

Otero, O., Garcia, G., Valentin, X., Lihoreau, F., Manthi, F.K. & Ducrocq, S. 2017. A glimpse at the ectotherms of the earliest fauna from the East African Rift (Lokone, late Oligocene of Kenya). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 37(2): e1312691, DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2017.1312691.

Lihoreau, F., Boisserie, J.-R., Manthi, F.K. & Ducrocq, S. 2015. Hippos stem from the longest sequence of terrestrial cetartiodactyl evolution in Africa. Nature Communications 6: 6264. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7264

Marivaux, L., Lihoreau, F., Manthi, F.K. & Ducrocq, S. 2012. A new basal phiomorph (Rodentia, Hystricognathi) from the late Oligocene of Lokone (Turkana Basin, Kenya). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32(3): 646-657.

Ducrocq, S., Manthi, F.K., Lihoreau, F. 2011. First record of a parapithecid primate from the Oligocene of Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 61: 327-331.

Ducrocq, S., Boisserie, J.-R., Tiercelin, J.-J., Delmer, C., Garcia, G., Kyalo, M.F., Leakey, M.G., Marivaux, L., Otero, O., Peigné, S., Tassy, P. & Lihoreau, F. 2010. New Oligocene vertebrate localities from northern Kenya (Turkana Basin). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(1): 293-299.



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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