Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Black Skull

Sobriquet for the hyper-robust, edentulous hominid cranium designated KNM-WT 17000. Found by Alan Walker in 1985 at Lomekwi locality I, West Lake Turkana, Kenya, this specimen caused a re-evaluation of previous hypotheses regarding early australopithecine evolution. The black skull has robust affinities and is called Paranthropus (Australopithecus) aethiopicus by some researchers, based on its early date (2.5 mya) and elongated face, although others place it with P. boisei. A key feature of this hominid is that it has a very small cranial capacity, estimated at 410 cm3. The dark color of the bones is due to the manganese in the deposits where the skull was buried. Aka Nachukui.

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