Virtual Cabinet of Curiosities

22. Koobi Fora skull, Dr David Ryves

This is a copy of the African Homo erectus (“Upright woman”) skull found in Koobi Fora, Kenya (next to Lake Turkana) in 1975. It belonged to an adult female who lived around 1.8 million years ago, and provides striking evidence of the importance of lakes and rivers as sites of human habitation over millions of years. The study of lake sediments (and the microfossils preserved in them), deposited over hundreds, thousands or millions of years, allows us to see into the distant past. This science of palaeolimnology helps us to understand what past environments were like, how the environment has affected people and how we have affected our environment (particularly in more recent periods, often called the Anthropocene).

I am currently working in East Africa analysing lake sediment records for signals of past environmental change during the last ~250,000 years.

More about David's research

These two websites cover two of David’s current research projects

Stories of Subsistence. People and coast over the last 6,000 years in the Limfjord, Denmark (Leverhulme Research Project) – exploring how coastal environmental change and cultural transformation are linked.

UKLEON. United Kingdom Lake Ecological Observatory Network (real-time automatic monitoring of UK lakes and their response to climate change).