The skull of an ape said to be that of a remote cousin of the Hominidae was discovered at a fossil site near Iriri in Karamoja.
The researcher said the fossil was that of a young adult male with teeth fully erupted but not heavily worn.
The researchers said it was the first time a complete skull of an ape was found adding that after careful study and laboratory analysis, the findings would yield a wealth of information about the characteristics of the species including its brain size, the shape of its orbits and nasal cavity and aspects of its diet.
Several skeletal elements of the same species were found earlier at other fossil site and the researchers were of the view that the skull belong to an arboreal climber.
The team led by Prof. Brigitte Senut of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris said the skull was found in volcanic ash believed to have erupted between 19 and 20 million years ago on the slope of Napak volcano which was associated with abundant fossil plant and animal remains that provided information that palaeo-environment at that time was forested.
“For the past 15 years, we have found isolated teeth, bones of individuals belonging to at least 15 different linages of fossil apes, but this is the first time we have found an almost complete skull of one of the large apes, which will teach us a lot about of our distant cousins,” Senut said.
Uganda, since 1920 has been a key country in the study of origins of apes and human. Several discoveries were made in the country. In 1985 an agreement was signed between the Ugandan Museum in Kampala, the Geological Survey of Uganda, the French National Museum of Natural History and the College de France in Paris.