KAMPALA – Researchers and scientists working in Uganda said on Tuesday that they have unearthed a 20 million-year-old well-preserved fossil skull of an ancient primate in Karamoja region northeast of Kampala, Uganda.
The discovery is the result of the cumulative efforts of researchers for 25 years, and it is the earliest modern sized primate skull ever found in history. Researchers hope it throws new light on the process of evolution.
The 20-million-year-old skull was discovered at an excavation site called Napak XV, said Martin Pickford, who led the team that found the unique item.
The scientists said that first analysis of the fossil showed the ape was approximately 10 years old when it died. The size of the skull is the same as that of a chimp, but its brain was smaller.
"It is a highly important fossil, it would certainly put Uganda on the map," Dr Martin Pickford, a paleontologist from the Collège de France in Paris and one of the team leaders from National Museum of Natural History told a news conference.
"It will be stored in Uganda's museum," Pickford added.
Ugandan Tourism Minister Hon. Agnes Akiror said she believed the latest discovery would help put her country 'on the map.'