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The Leakeys Who they were and what they found.. The Leakeys Louis Leakey Born: 1903 Where: Near Nairobi, Kenya Education: went to school at Cambridge.

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Presentation on theme: "The Leakeys Who they were and what they found.. The Leakeys Louis Leakey Born: 1903 Where: Near Nairobi, Kenya Education: went to school at Cambridge."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Leakeys Who they were and what they found.

2 The Leakeys Louis Leakey Born: 1903 Where: Near Nairobi, Kenya Education: went to school at Cambridge University, majoring in Anthropology and graduating in Occupation: a British anthropologist

3 Cont’d of Louis Leakey Work: after graduation, he got a job as an Africa expert on an archaeological mission to Tanzania. - He returned to Cambridge to study anthropology and in 1928 he married Frieda. - He published his first book called The Stone Age Cultures of Kenya Colony where he discovered the oldest Homo sapiens - In 1939 became a Civilian Intelligence Officer for the Kenyan government, and during this time, he remarried a woman named Mary - In the early 1960’s, a Leaky expedition to the Olduvai Gorge uncovered human fossils. Louis Leakey died at the age of 69 in 1972 from a heart attack. Mary and his son, Richard, continued his work and went on to discover more artifacts.

4 Mary Leakey Name: Mary Douglas Nicol Leakey Born: February 6, 1913 Where: London, England Education: her mother sent her to a Catholic convent where she was expelled. Occupation: a British archaeologist and anthropologist.

5 Cont’d of Mary Leakey Work: - In 1934, Mary began her first excavation at Hembury Fort in Devon - In September of 1934, Mary performed her first excavation at Jaywick Sands near Clacton, Essex and published her first scientific paper. - Mary and Louis spent from at Olduvai Gorge in the Seregeti Plains of northern Tanzania. - In October of 1947, while on Rusinga Island, Mary unearths a Proconsul skull, which was the first skull of an ape to ever be found. There are only three others that are known. - In 1955, Mary and Louis were awarded the Stopes Medal from the Geological Association for their hard work and discoveries. - A 1.75 million year-old Australopithecus Boisei skull was uncovered in She discovered Homo fossils at Laetoli which were more than 3.75 million years old, 15 new species and one new genus. Mary Leakey died on Monday, December 9 th, 1996 at the age of 83.

6 Austrolopithecus Boisei and Proconsul Skull

7 Richard Leakey ( Louis’ and Mary’s Son) - He is the world’s best-known paleontologist - He was credited with some of the most significant fossil discoveries of the 20 th century. - In 1996, he married Margaret Cooper, an archaeologist who worked with the Leakey family. - In 1968 his political sense led him to be appointed as the director of the National Museum of Kenya. - In 1969, he and his wife Margaret had a daughter named Anna, and they were divorced the same year. - The following year he married Meave Epps, a zoologist who specialized in primates. - That had two daughters together; Louise in 1972 and Samira in 1974.

8 Cont’d of Richard Leakey - In 1984, his team found the most impressive fossil. - They following year supplied another major find, WT 17000, the first skull of the species Australopithecus aethiopicus - In 1993, a crash caused by a malfunction in the airplane he was flying caused the loss of both his legs below the knee. - Since then he has become involved in Kenyan politics, and was the Secretary General of the Kenyan opposition party Safina. - In December 1997, he was elected to a seat in the Kenyan parliament. - Richard Leakey has authored over 100 scientific articles and books, including The Sixth Extinction, Origins, Origins Reconsidered, The Origin of Humankind, and One Life.

9 The Big Discovery Olduvai Gorge in East Africa had been the site of many exciting fossil finds. Mary and Louis Leakey had spent their lives there looking for evidence of our origins. The search began in The first most important piece was found in 1959, when Mary spotted part of a skull and 2 premolars stuck in the side of the cliff. On a summer morning, Mary was out for a walk with her two Dalmatians and Louis had stayed in because he had influenza. She stopped at a site called Frieda Leakey Korongo which was a gully and the discovery was made there. They excavated more than 400 parts to the skull of an Australopithecine. They found it to be 1.75 million years-old through the potassium-argon dating technique. They named it “The Nutcracker Boy” due to the huge cheek teeth. Other names they had for it was “Zinj” and “Dear Boy”.

10 Here is Mary on one of her excavation missions. The one on the left shows her analyzing footprints. Pictures

11 Importance to Social Science Studies Mary brought to light the footprints of individuals walking upright with the footprints of other animals such as elephants and antelopes. Mary brought to light the footprints of individuals walking upright with the footprints of other animals such as elephants and antelopes. The morphology of the feet (short toes, close together) and the distribution of the body weight in relation to the arch of the foot shows the signs of the modern man. The morphology of the feet (short toes, close together) and the distribution of the body weight in relation to the arch of the foot shows the signs of the modern man. However, the study of the articulations of the feet, hands, elbows and knees and the muscular links show that the mode of locomotion of the Australopithecus afarensis was much meant for climbing as it did for walking. However, the study of the articulations of the feet, hands, elbows and knees and the muscular links show that the mode of locomotion of the Australopithecus afarensis was much meant for climbing as it did for walking. In 1959, she found the skull pf a humanlike creature at Olduthropis, called Australopithecus Boisei that was about , 000 years-old. In 1959, she found the skull pf a humanlike creature at Olduthropis, called Australopithecus Boisei that was about , 000 years-old. In 1978, she found footprints preserved in hardened volcanic ash at Laetoli, Tanzania; the prints dated back to ,000 years ago, suggesting that human-like creatures had begun walking upright by then. In 1978, she found footprints preserved in hardened volcanic ash at Laetoli, Tanzania; the prints dated back to ,000 years ago, suggesting that human-like creatures had begun walking upright by then. Louis Leakey and the other scientists named the discovery Homo habilis, a fossil group now considered by most anthropologists to be the remains of one of the earliest types of human beings. Louis Leakey and the other scientists named the discovery Homo habilis, a fossil group now considered by most anthropologists to be the remains of one of the earliest types of human beings.

12 Interesting Bits Leakey had led fossil-hunting expeditions in eastern Africa during the 1920’s. Leakey had led fossil-hunting expeditions in eastern Africa during the 1920’s. Homo habilis lived in Africa about 2 million years ago. Homo habilis lived in Africa about 2 million years ago. The big discovery made in the summer of 1959 was exactly 100 years after Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species was published. The big discovery made in the summer of 1959 was exactly 100 years after Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species was published. More than 20 sites were excavated in the 1940’s and 1950’s by Louis and Mary Leakey at Olduvai, providing material dating back from 1.9 to , 000 millions years old. More than 20 sites were excavated in the 1940’s and 1950’s by Louis and Mary Leakey at Olduvai, providing material dating back from 1.9 to , 000 millions years old. Louis headed excavation missions after convincing the scientists that the most important place to look for evidence of the earliest human beings was in Africa. Louis headed excavation missions after convincing the scientists that the most important place to look for evidence of the earliest human beings was in Africa.

13 Top: Olduvai Gorge, Left: Australopithecus africanus, Right: Austrolopithecus Boisei

14 Hominid Evolution Chart on the right.


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