Lower Valley of the Omo
Lower Valley Of The Omo
Cultural Ethiopia Africa Southern Nation Nationalities &Peoples Region

The hominid remains that have been excavated in the Lower Valley of the Omo are characteristic of a unique type. They bear exceptional witness to important developments in the field of cultural development.

The south-west of Ethiopia is a region rich in wildlife resources, with three major national parks. Distinctly different from other parts of Ethiopia, it offers a mixture of fertile grasslands, terraced hillsides, broad rivers and forests. The National Park in which the hominid remains have been found is one of the most beautiful in Ethiopia. Its 4,068 km2 of wilderness bordered by the Omo River is home to an amazing range of wildlife: 306 species of bird have been identified here, while large herds of eland, buffalo and elephant are not uncommon.

The Lower Valley of the Omo is unlike any other place on Earth in that so many different types of people have inhabited such a small area of land over many millennia. It is believed that it was the crossroads of a wide assortment of cultures where early humans of many different ethnicities passed as they migrated to and from lands in every direction. As a result the Lower Valley of the Omo, which is a prehistoric site near Lake Turkana, is renowned the world over.

The discovery of many fossils there, especially of Homo gracilis, has been of fundamental importance in the study of human evolution. The site is well documented owing to the research undertaken during the 1930s by Professor Camille Aramburg and from 1968 to 1976 by a team of palaeontologists and prehistorians. The discoveries of humanoid fossils in the valley include jaw bones, quantities of detached teeth, and fragments of australopithecines. Furthermore, evidence of the oldest-known humanoid technological activity has been found in this region, as well as stone objects attesting to an encampment of prehistoric human beings that is among the oldest known today.