In the language of the Gabbra people who live near the site, the term Koobi Fora means a place of the commiphora and the source of myrrh, which is a common plant in this hot and arid area.
Research work on the site began in 1968. Hominid fossils from the Plio/Pleistocene of Eastern Africa have been recovered from seven localities of which the most extensive is that of East of Lake Turkana. This Koobi Fora site comprises approximately 700 square miles of fluvial and lacustine sediments representing a broadly continuous sequence of deposition from the Pliocene (5.0 million) to the Early Pleistocene (1.0 million) years old.
Since June 1968, more than 70 hominid fossils had been recovered. One hominid model; Australopithecus Sensu Lato, has been documented as a chrono species of over a period of 2 million years old. During this period according to researchers, there was little significant morphological change as evident in the element preserved both at Koobi Fora and elsewhere in East Africa.
The first Australopithecus skull was found here by Dr. Richard Leakey a renown palaeontologist. Homo Habilis was also found there by Bernard Ngeves. Homo erectus, a 1.6 million years old fossil skull was also discovered here by a research assistant of Dr. Leakey, Mr. Kimeu Kimoya.
Up to 1994, about 200 separate hominid and numerous animal skulls had been found, more than the rest of the world’s fossil sites have produced in 60 years.