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Discovery site at Napudet, west of Lake Turkana, Kenya © Isaiah Nengo

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

Speaker(s): Isaiah Nengo

Chicago, IL

October 12, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


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Nyanzapithecus alesi © Fred Spoor

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. In this talk, Dr. Nengo will share the story of finding this rare fossil and discuss the secrets that cutting-edge technology has uncovered about the life of this ancient infant.

Presented by The Leakey Foundation and the Chicago Council on Science and Technology

With generous support from:
Camilla and George Smith
Ann and Gordon Getty




Check out our Origin Stories podcast episode featuring Isaiah Nengo!



The Leakey Foundation


Walter Payton College Prep High School
1034 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60610 United States
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Isaiah Nengo

Dr. Isaiah Nengo was born in Nairobi, Kenya. He is an associate director and research professor at the Turkana Basin Institute, Stony Brook University. He holds a BS in zoology and botany from the University of Nairobi and a PhD in biological anthropology from Harvard University. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the National Museums of Kenya and the University of Nairobi in 2012/13. Dr. 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.

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