Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Video: Isaiah Nengo

On October 12, 2017, The Leakey Foundation in partnership with the Chicago Council of Science and Technology (C2ST) presented “Alesi: The Life, Death, and Discovery of an Ancestor” with speaker Isaiah Nengo.

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 shared the story of finding this rare fossil, and he discussed the secrets that cutting-edge technology has uncovered about the life of this ancient infant.

Chet Kamin from The Leakey Foundation Board of Trustees and Zeray Alemseged of the University of Chicago provided the introductions.

About 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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