By Maina Kiarie
Kenyanthropus platyops (meaning “Flat-faced man of Kenya”) is a 3.5 to 3.2 million year old hominin fossil that was discovered around Lake Turkana, North Western Kenyan in 1999 by Justus Erus, who was part of Meave Leakey’s team. In her paper, Leakey, who named the fossil, proposed that the fossil represents a new hominin genus. Other scientists classify it as a separate species of Australopithecus (Australopithecus platyops), and others place it as an individual of Australopithecus afarensis.
The bones found at the site included more than 30 skull and tooth fragments. At the time that this species lived, there were several other human-like species, each well adapted to life in their particular environments.
Kenyanthropus was seen to have a small ear hole, like that of chimpanzees and has a small brain like other primitive hominids. It has high cheek bones and a flat plane beneath its nose bone, giving it a flat face.