Site: Koobi Fora, Kenya
Year of Discovery:
Discovered by: Kamoya Kimeu
Age: About 1.7 million years old
Species: Homo erectus
This 1.7 million-year-old femur (thigh bone) of a Homo erectus female shows how scientists can sometimes determine an individual’s cause of death, even after fossilization. An abnormal outer layer of bone on her thigh shows evidence of bleeding just before death. After consulting doctors and accounts of wilderness explorers, researchers concluded that an overdose of vitamin A—perhaps from eating a carnivore’s liver, which concentrates vitamin A—caused the bleeding and her death.