Alesi: The Life, Death, and Discovery of an Ancestor

Chicago Council on Science and Technology and
The Leakey Foundation Present

Alesi: The Life, Death, and Discovery of an Ancestor

Humans haven’t been on this planet long—Homo sapiens evolved about 200,000 years ago, and our common ancestors with chimpanzees, our closest primate relatives, lived in Africa about seven million years ago. We know far less about our older ancestors, those of all living apes and humans from before 10 million years ago.

The recent discovery of a 13 million-year-old fossil infant ape skull has offered a rare glimpse of what the common ancestor of all living apes and humans may have looked like. The fossil, nicknamed “Alesi,” belongs to a newly named species called Nyanzapithecus alesi. Alesi was discovered in a desolate region of Kenya by John Ekusi, a member of Dr. Isaiah Nengo’s research team.

Come learn firsthand from Dr. Nengo, who will share his team’s story of finding this rare fossil, and discuss the secrets that cutting-edge technology has uncovered about the life of this ancient infant.

Isaiah Nengo, Ph.D., was born in Nairobi, Kenya. He holds a BS in Zoology and Botany from the University of Nairobi and a PhD in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University. He is an associate director and research professor at the Turkana Basin Institute, Stony Brook University. He was Fulbright Scholar at the National Museums of Kenya and the University of Nairobi in 2012/13. Nengo’s research focuses on the search for the ancestors of apes and humans in Africa. He is the recipient of five Leakey Foundation Research Grants.

DETAILS: Thursday, October 12, 2017, 6:00 p.m. Walter Payton College Prep High School, Auditorium, 1034 N. Wells St., Chicago , IL, 60610. This program is FREE and open to the public. For more details, visit our website. Advanced registration encouraged on Eventbrite.
Can’t join us live? Then join us via live stream on our Facebook page at 6 p.m., or watch the program at your leisure at a later date on our YouTube channel, C2ST TV.

IMAGE: Alesi, the skull of the new extinct ape species Nyanzapithecus alesi (KNM-NP 59050). © Fred Spoor.