Researchers and scientists working in Uganda said on Tuesday that they have unearthed a 20 million-year-old well-preserved fossil skull of an ancient primate in Karamoja region northeast of Kampala, Uganda.

On July 18, scientists unearthed the remains while looking for fossils near the slopes of the Napak volcano in Karamoja.

The discovery is the result of the cumulative efforts of researchers for 25 years, and it is the earliest modern sized primate skull ever found in history. Researchers hope it throws new light on the process of evolution.

The researchers team who first came to Uganda in 1985 was led by Professor Brigitte Senut from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and Dr Martin Pickford, a paleontologist from the Collège de France in Paris.

The scientists said that first analysis of the fossil showed the ape was approximately 10 years old when it died. The size of the skull is the same as that of a chimp, but its brain was smaller.

"It is a highly important fossil, it would certainly put Uganda on the map," Dr Martin Pickford told a news conference.

Dr Pickford also said the first analysis of the fossil showed the ape was approximately 10 years old when it died.

The remains will be stored in a vault for security reasons.

Agnes Okiror, Ugandan Tourism Minister, said the latest fossil discovery would help put the country “on the map.”

Last year, a team of researchers in Chad discovered a six million year old hominid fossil, which was considered one of the greatest modern discoveries in the world.