Introduction to Anthropology Linda Samland June 21,2002 Biography- Richard Leakey
Homo habilis, Richard Erskine Leakey, was born December 19, 1944 in Nairobi, Kenya. His parents were the esteemed anthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey. Leakey decided at an early age that he wanted nothing to do with paleoanthropology and dropped out of high school. Over the next few years Leakey trapped wild animals, supplied skeletons to institutions, started a safari business and taught himself to fly. In 1964, he led an expedition to a fossil site he had seen from the air and discovered that he enjoyed looking for fossils. He also discovered that although he technically led the expedition all the fame went to the scientists who studied the specimens. In 1965 Leakey went to England to study for a degree. Richard successfully schooled himself by completing a two-year secondary education program in six months. In 1966, Leakey married Margaret Cropper an archeologist who had worked with the Leakey family (World Book). After working on a French/ Kenyan/ American joint expedition in Ethiopia, Leakey realized that his lack of scientific qualifications hindered his progress. Leakey asked the National Geographic Society for funds to run his own excavation at Lake Turkana in Kenya. From 1967-1977, Leakey and his co-workers dug up approximately 400 fossils that accounted for 230 individuals. Leakey's most important discovery was an almost complete skull found in 1977, which Richard believed to be a new species called Homo habilis. Richard Leakey's accomplishments are discovering the crania of Australopithecus boisei in 1969 with archeologist Glynn Isaac on the East shores of Lake Turkana. He also discovered a Homo habilis skull in 1972 and a Homo erectus skull in 1975(Human Evolution). In 1969,...
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