Plio-Pleistocene terrestrial mammal assemblage from Konso, southern Ethiopia

Gen Suwa, Hideo Nakaya, Berhane Asfaw, Haruo Saegusa, Awoke Amzaye, Reiko T. Kono, Yonas Beyene, Shigehiro Katoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Mammalian fossils of the Konso Formation (southwestern Main Ethiopian Rift) derive from stratigraphic intervals dated to between 2.0 Ma and younger than 1.3 Ma. Systematic paleontological collecting resulted in almost 8, 000 identifiable mammalian specimens representing 8 orders, 22 families, and more than 68 species including Australopithecus boisei and Homo erectus. Despite geographic proximity to the Turkana Basin (approximately 200 km), aspects of the Konso fauna are distinctive, with its 1.9–1.7 Ma assemblage showing some degree of endemism. Bovids Megalotragus, Parmularius altidens, Parmularius eppsi, Menelikia, and Pelorovis, all common at Turkana and/or Olduvai, are rare or absent at Konso, while Parmularius cf. pandatus, Simatherium, and Notochoerus n. sp. of the Konso assemblages are the youngest known records of these taxa in eastern Africa. The dominant suid of this assemblage is Kolpochoerus majus, a previously poorly known taxon. Subsequent to circa 1.7 Ma, an influx of external elements occurred, possibly related to a general East African trend of climatic drying between 1.8 and 1.6 Ma. The post-1.5 Ma Konso fauna is characterized by apparently immigrant dry grassland adapted bovids, such as Damaliscus niro and Parmularius angustieomis. Metridiochoerus compactus, Metridiochoerus hopwoodi and Metridiochoerus modestus are common in the 1.5 to 1.3 Ma levels at Konso, whereas the latter two suids are rare at Turkana. The post-1.5 Ma Kolpochoerus limneteslolduvaiensis of Konso is morphologically more conservative than time-equivalent Turkana specimens. The post-1.5 Ma Konso Elephas rechi represents an evolutionary grade immediately preceding the fully advanced E. rechi rechi condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-916
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Dec
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Palaeontology


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