New Discovery for Apes

Staff Writer: Matthew Sanchez 

Earlier this month, there was a new discovery for the history of Apes in Northern Kenya. A very good preserved skull was found in Kenya and it was thought to be more than 13 million years ago. It was an infant ape that was found dead in a lush forest. The body was covered in ash fall from a nearby volcanic eruption.

Isaiah Nengo from National Geographic says, “We’ve been looking for ape fossils for years-this is the first time we’re getting a skull that’s complete,”. Isaiah Nengo is an anthropologist from De Anza College in California. 

This new and well preserved skull gives a good glimpse into the early years of ape evolution. The skull that was found was very small and approximately the size of a lemon. Some of the features of this young ape has some similar features to today’s Old World monkeys and apes. The apes face looks a lot like a young gibbons which is a type of ape.

This new discovery has also gave scientists more information about early aged apes brains. The brains volume has a much larger volume compared to other monkeys from the same time. Its volume was about seven tablespoons which is more than double the volume of other Old World monkeys.

This skull was so well preserved that it can even give scientists a good idea of what the outside of the face looked like. And it also showed the baby ape’s adult teeth which were not damaged. While this new discovery of apes is thought to be about 13 million years ago, that is also around the time the species of humans and chimps were known to split. 

So, I have went around Woodstock High School and asked a few students what they think about this discovery and how they think it affects the history of the apes and humans. William Callahan, a junior at Woodstock High School said, “It doesn’t really affect me but it is important and could affect the history of apes and humans and it could lead to many different ideas of the beginning of apes.”

Grace Barham, also a junior at Woodstock High School, said “I think that it is pretty interesting and it has changed the history of evolution and information about apes because of how old it is.” 

This discovery does not really affect local people, the only people it really affects are people who study the history of these animals and nature. So scientists and college students in this field are affected somewhat by this, but not many other people. Overall this discovery does not effect us very much, but it could be important to scientists and lead to new discoveries in history.


The typical ape skull today.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons. Gathered by Maddie Killian.

old ape

An ape skull about 13 million years ago.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons. Gathered by Maddie Killian


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