Richard Leakey

Name ID 336

See also

Dente, Jenny Mary Douglas Nicol Leakey 1913-1996
Page Number: 07
Extract Date: 1944

Birth of Richard

Through these war years, the family continued to change and grow. In January of 1943, Mary gave birth to a daughter, Deborah, who died a short three months later of dysentery. However, on December 24, 1944, another baby arrived, Richard Erskine Frere Leakey, and the end of the war found Mary excavating as usual, though now accompanied by two sons, their nurses, and several adored Dalmatians.

Extract ID: 3311

See also

CD Groliers Encyclopedia
Extract Author: Brian M.Fagan
Page Number: L1

Leakey family

The British anthropologists Louis S. B. Leakey, born Aug 7, 1903, died Oct 1, 1972, his wife Mary, born Mary Nichol, Feb 6, 1913, and their son Richard, born Dec 19, 1944, have made major contributions to the study of human evolution. Louis and Mary Leakey investigated early human campsites at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, and found important hominid fossils more than 1.75 million years old.

Extract ID: 495

See also

Heminway, John No Man's Land: The Last of White Africa
Page Number: 178c
Extract Date: 1975

Ballooning for the public

Ever since Alan had learned to fly a balloon, nothing gave him greater pleasure than offering his friends joyrides: a dawn departure from the lawn in front of the house to the strains of "Up, Up and Away," a climb into clouds, a descent onto the roof of a neighbor's house to wake its occupants with a few bars of "Born Free," out across the lake to surprise a sleeping herd of hippos, up again to search for plains game and to open a bottle of champagne, and a finger-barking landing in an onion field just as the rescue crew, driving a Land Rover, sped into sight.

These flights were so successful that Alan decided to go public with lighter-than-air travel. For years he and Richard Leakey had been partners in a photographic safari company, and when it was disbanded in 1976 because of personal differences, he formed another partnership with the leading hotelier of the country to take tourists across the Masai-Mara Game Reserve in his balloon. "The fun was getting Balloon Safaris going - convincing the local aviation authorities that it was okay to have regular charter flights to a destination never certain until you got there."

Extract ID: 4163

See also

Willis, Delta The Leakey Family: Leaders in the Search for Human Origins
Page Number: 100
Extract Date: 1978

Golden Linnaean Medal

In 1978 Johanson and White decided to announce a new name for the discoveries. Johanson was one of many scientists scheduled to speak at a Nobel Symposium in Sweden in May. The conference would honor Mary Leakey, who would receive a medal from the King of Sweden for her scientific work.

Mary Leakey received the Golden Linnaean Medal, the first woman to do so. But she also endured one of the most embarrassing moments in her life. Johanson spoke before she did, and announced the new name for the species from Ethiopia - and in this species, he included Mary Leakey's discoveries from Laetoli. In fact, the jaw LH 4 was featured as the type specimen, or model, for the news species name Australopithecus afarensis. Australopithecus is the formal genus name for the australopithecines, and afarensis denotes the Afar Triangle of Ethiopia where they were found. But the model specimen came from Tanzania.

Johanson talked at length about the discoveries at Laetoli, which scooped Mary's own speech. She was angry and embarrassed. During the coffee break, she confided to Richard: "How am I going to give my paper now? It's all been said." Richard said later that she felt that she "was going to look as if she was a fool, repeating the material." More controversial, Johanson had named her discoveries, using a designation that was totally at odds with what she believed. Because Johanson named them first, that name stuck. When she stood up to give her talk, Mary Leakey could not say that the finds from Laetoli were Homo as she thought they were. She just expressed her deep regret that "the Laetoli fellow is now doomed to be called Australopithecus afarensis."

Some scientists suggest that White and Johanson lumped the Laetoli finds in with the others to give the new species an older date. The fossils that Mary Leakey found in Tanzania were nearly four million years old - at the time, the oldest hominids ever discovered.

The controversy continues today. In 1990 more fossils were found in Ethiopia that suggest there may have been two species, rather than one as Johanson and White claimed. But the Leakeys withdrew from this debate; they decided that their best defense was just to keep working and find more evidence.

Extract ID: 3277

See also

1981 Publishes: Leakey, Richard The Making of Mankind


Extract ID: 516

See also

1992 Publishes: Leakey, Richard and Lewin, Roger Origins Reconsidered


Extract ID: 517

See also

1994 Publishes: Leakey, Richard The Origin of Humankind


Extract ID: 518

See also

1996 Publishes: Leakey, Richard and Lewin, Roger The Sixth Extinction: Biodiversity and its survival


Extract ID: 3019
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