Partial skeleton of Proconsul nyanzae from Mfangano Island, Kenya

C. V. Ward, A. Walker, M. F. Teaford, I. Odhiambo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A partial skeleton attributed to Proconsul nyanzae (KNM‐MW 13142) is described. The fossils were found at a site on Mfangano Island, Kenya, which dates to 17.9 ± .1 million years ago. KNM‐MW 13142 consists of six partial vertebrae (T12‐S1), a nearly complete hipbone, most of the right femur and left femoral shaft, a fragmentary tibia and fibula, and a nearly complete talus and calcaneus. This skeleton provides the first pelvic fossil known for any East African Miocene hominoid. The new Proconsul specimen is compared to a large sample of extant anthropoids to determine its functional and phylogenetic affinities. In most aspects of its anatomy, KNM‐MW 13142 closely resembles nonhominoid anthropoids. This individual had a long, flexible spine, narrow torso, and habitually pronograde posture, features characteristic of most extant monkeys. Evidence of spinal musculature suggests a generalized condition intermediate between that of cercopithecoids and hylobatids. The hindlimb of KNM‐MW 13142 exhibits relatively mobile hip and ankle joints, with structural properties of the femur like those of hominoids. This mix of features implies a pattern of posture and locomotion that is unlike that of any extant primate. Many aspects of the Proconsul nyanzae locomotor skeleton may represent the primitive catarrhine condition. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-111
Number of pages35
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993


  • Hominoid
  • Kenya
  • Mfangano Island
  • Miocene
  • Pelvis
  • Postcrania
  • Proconsul
  • Vertebrae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology

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