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The West Turkana Paleo project is an international collaborative effort.  The project was founded in 2010 by Dr. Fredrick Kyalo Manthi of the National Museums of Kenya, Dr. Carol V. Ward of the University of Missouri, and Dr. J. Michael Plavcan of the University of Arkansas.  The WTPP is operated primarily through the National Museums of Kenya where our fossils are housed.  We collaborate with a large team of experts including geologists, faunal experts, and the best fossil finders anywhere.


The primary goal of the WTPP is to recover evidence of the early parts of human evolution.  We are especially interested in the Pliocene through middle Pleistocene, and work at sites including Kanapoi, which at 4.2 million years old provides the earliest evidence of Australopithecus, all the way through more recent localities dating to 200,000 years old, about the time that our species, Homo sapiens, may have appeared.


The WTPP considers educating Kenyans about their prehistory to be imperative for the future of Kenyan paleontology.  We always support educational efforts in and around Nairobi.




We also educate Kenyan and American graduate and undergraduate students, providing them with experience working in the field and lab,  establishing what we hope will be long term professional collaborations like the WTPP.


The WTPP also considers it a priority to invest the local communities who graciously allow us to do our work in their home areas and facilitate our research.  We work with local people to identify their areas of greatest need, and collaborate with them and local governments to improve their communities.  We have helped with infrastructure, educational programs, and this year at Kanapoi even built a primary school.


Our funding derives from National Science Foundation, LSB Leakey Foundation, Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, University of Missouri and PAST of South Africa, and from the kind generosity of our many friends and supporters.


The WTPP is a registered non-profit corporation.  For more information about our mission and bylaws, contact us at



Here are pics of our team from Kanapoi 2014.  Team leaders Fredrick Manthi, Mike Plavcan, Carol Ward; fossil finders Peter Nzube, Wambua Mangao, Robert Moru, Steven Longoria, Jackson Dongol, Simon Ekitela, Julius Nzavi, Jackson Ekusi, Robert Angorot; drivers Lucas, Ongango and Okelo; geologists Craig Feibel and Melissa Boyd; faunal expert Rene Bobe; visitors Brian Richmond and Kevin Hatala; students Sharon Kuo, Laurence Dumochal and Daniel Kisuna; camp & kitchen staff Sylvester, Dominic, Josephat; askari Nate, Longoria & Lemodo.

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