Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Oligocene primates from the Nsungwe Formation of Tanzania

Nancy Stevens Nancy Stevens

Nancy Stevens is a professor at Ohio University. She was awarded a Leakey Foundation research grant in the spring of 2011 for her project entitled “Oligocene primates from the Nsungwe Formation of Tanzania.”

The late Oligocene Nsungwe Formation (~25Ma) is located in the Rukwa Rift Basin in southwestern Tanzania. These deposits represent the only late Oligocene primate fossil bearing sites in sub-equatorial Africa. This fossiliferous rich, yet under-sampled locality offers the opportunity to address numerous questions about primate evolutionary history.

In the report below, Nancy Stevens describes the results of her team’s four week field effort in the dry season of 2011. These results include the discovery of the earliest stem cercopithecoid primate as well as other significant vertebrate finds.

Links to peer-reviewed publications resulting in part from this award:

Palaeontological evidence for an Oligocene divergence between Old World monkeys and apes

The Earliest Colubroid-Dominated Snake Fauna from Africa: Perspectives from the Late Oligocene Nsungwe Formation of Southwestern Tanzania 

Initiation of the western branch of the East African Rift coeval with the eastern branch

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