KNM-ER 3733

When fossil hunter Bernard Ngeneo came across the remains of this fossil, only the upper portion of the orbits were protruding from the ground. Excavation revealed one of the best preserved skulls of this time period, and one of the most striking early human fossils of any age.

KNM-ER 3733 represents a mature female of the early human species Homo erectus. The sex identification comes from a comparison of the anatomical features of her face with several other crania from Koobi Fora: KNM-ER 3883 (male), and KNM-WT 15000 (also male), found on the opposite side of Lake Turkana. The features of KNM-ER 3733 are markedly less robust. It's known to be an adult on the basis of the cranial sutures (which were fully closed), the extent of the wear on the teeth, and the eruption of the third molars before the individual's death.

Image of KNM-ER 3733, skull, 3/4 view
KNM-ER 3733
Exhibit item
Koobi Fora, Kenya
Date of discovery: 
Discovered by: 
Bernard Ngeneo
About 1.8 million years old
Homo erectus
<bold>Longest-lived member of the human family tree</bold> Like others of her species, this female had a larger braincase and more prominent nose than earlier species. <italic>Homo erectus</italic> depended on its large brain to make tools, adjust to new habitats, and care for the old and weak. The species survived more than nine times longer than our own species has been around.