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Exploration of the Rift

The Rukwa Rift Basin Project (RRBP) was initiated to focus paleontological and geological field exploration in poorly sampled strata in southern and western Tanzania. This work reveals a rare glimpse into the past, as the Rukwa Rift Basin preserves one of the only well-exposed, fossiliferous Cretaceous-Neogene continental sedimentary sequences in sub-equatorial Africa.

Since 2002, project PIs from Ohio University, Michigan State University, James Cook University, and the University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) have assembled research teams for annual field expeditions. These teams have recovered a diversity of Cretaceous, Paleogene, and Neogene terrestrial and freshwater vertebrate and invertebrate fossils, revealing the region's importance for understanding environmental change through time.

The RRBP provides opportunities for student training, science education, and outreach. The project receives funding from the US National Science Foundation (EAR-Sedimentary Geology and Paleobiology Program, EAR-Instrumentation and Facilities Program), the National Geographic Society, and the LSB Leakey Foundation for field and laboratory research.