Kamoya Kimeu, field paleoanthropologist extraordinaire!

The Institute for the Science of Origins is delighted to
announce that famed paleoanthropologist Kamoya Kimeu has been awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from Case Western Reserve University! 

 Scroll down to see the guest book!
Click here to see the degree recipients
the ceremony anytime at: https://case.edu/commencement/media/webcast
See the Honorary Degree recipients share their views on inspiration, advice and leadership: https://youtu.be/UsFFGwfACeg
In the field

Kamoya is well-known to the public from his many appearances in the pages of National Geographic, and a legion of TV shows and documentaries.

In the lab 
Kamoya with Dr Yohannes Haile-Selassie!

We invite you to post your good wishes, comments and reminiscences by sending an email to evolution@case.edu (subject line: Kamoya). Photos and videos welcome!

Kamoya enthusiasts at the Greater Cleveland STEM Foundation are organizing a congratulatory present for Kamoya! To send a tax-deductible donation, give online at: https://www.clestem.org/support-clestem/

And please consider a gift toward the Origins Kamoya Scholarship fund. It’s tax deductible. Just click to Kamoya Fund 

Kamoya fossil hunting on camels!

We are thrilled to see the legendary leader of the “Hominid Gang,” discoverer of the Turkana Boy -and innumerable other fossils crucial for understanding human origins- being recognized as the top scientist he is!

Excavating with Richard Leakey

In the field with Meave Leakey and the team

Excavating the Turkana Boy site took several years. In the end it was the most complete fossil skeleton of a human ancestor ever found.

Kamoya got involved in paleoanthropology as a young man, recruited by Louis Leakey to work at Olduvai Gorge, and then with Mary Leakey, who taught him the fine skills of archeological excavation

Analyzing fossils in the field


















Photos courtesy of The National Geographic Society, The Turkana Basin Institute, Louise Leakey, and Yohannes Haile-Selassie Ambaye

Guest Book: Well wishes from Kamoya’s many fans

Note: The Greater Cleveland STEM Foundation is inviting donations for a lovely gift for Kamoya to commemorate the honor. Please go to: https://www.clestem.org/support-clestem/
(Feel free to send an email about your donation to evolution@case.edu so we can keep track without having to bug CleSTEM all the time.) 

Kamoya had a profound impact on my career trajectory. I would not have made the decision early on to become a paleoanthropologist if it were not for his encouragement and support when I went to work at the National Museums of Kenya.   As a pioneer black Kenyan in Paleoanthropology Kamoya was my role model, validating my desire to pursue a career in paleoanthropology, at a critical early stage in a country where there was no one else like me to look up to.  Kamoya was also my first instructor in the fundamentals of paleontological field research.  From Kamoya, I first  learned how to search for fossils, recognize taxa from the morphology of their bones in real time in the field, conduct a proper excavation, and how to resolve the intricate logistical problems involved in managing a field expedition in the remote and legendarily tough semiarid conditions in Northern Kenya without “losing it”.  I still remember, as I pass along the same knowledge to my own students and younger colleagues new to fieldwork, his patience in the field teaching me how to read the landscape to tell  ancient rock sediments from recent deposits.

 Isaiah Nengo

 Turkana Basin Institute and Stony Brook University
Hongera sana, Mzee Kamoya!
You are a living legend. Many blessed years to you from two who came very late to the fossil fields.
Mikael Fortelius and Asta Rosenström-Fortelius
“Kamoya was an inspiration to me already as a small child. A paragon of science able to discover the most important of fossils from the tiniest of clues.” Patricia Princehouse
Case Western Reserve University
Congratulations Dr. Kimeu! Your contributions to the fields of paleoanthropology, human evolution, and Earth science are immeasurably large and I thank you for devoting decades of hard work to finding fossils, contributing to the research, and training others.  Asante sana Mzee Kimeu!

Kevin Uno
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University
Congratulations on your great achievement! William E. Holt

Professor of Geophysics, Stony Brook University
Hello to all, Kamoya Kimeu was my introduction to field work in Africa in 1971.  He  was leader of the group working at a satellite camp of the 1971 expedition to Lake Turkana; we were at a base camp on the lake shore at Ileret, some 4 hours by road from the main camp at Koobi Fora.  For three months we mapped geology of the Ileret, while separately Kamoya led the fossil collection team in the same areas; Richard Leakey would bring mail and some fresh food by plane every 2-3 weeks.
Kamoya‘s leadership was critical for our large group – 10 museum staff collecting fossils, 8 European and American scientists on 4 different projects, and 2 camp staff.  We ate together, laughed together, dug in dry rivers beds for fresh water together, fetched firewood together, fixed tyres together, repaired Land Rovers together, swam (carefully because of crocodiles!) together. It was a great introduction to how a field camp should be run. I remember no  divisiveness between members and that I attribute to Kamoya‘s leadership.  No untoward event would disturb Kamoya – heavy unseasonal rains, lions in camp at night, seemingly unstartable Land Rovers.
It was that wonderful introduction to field work in Africa that kept me returning for so many years to work at Lake Turkana and other sites in Africa and beyond.  This recognition is most deserving of a most gracious individual!
With warm wishes to Kamoya,
Thure Cerling
University of Utah

Dr Richard Leakey, in his own doctoral regalia, carrying out the hooding in Nairobi as the CWRU graduation ceremony was virtual due to covid restrictions: