Three generations of Leakeys have dug in East Africa for fossil evidence that answers questions about human origins. Louis and Mary, husband and wife, began what would turn into decades of research and fieldwork, often disproving common theories and beliefs of the time. Son Richard followed in his parents' foot steps, along with his wife Meave, and made spectacular finds as well. Today, Louise, the oldest daughter of Richard and Meave, continues the family tradition with fieldwork in northern Kenya.
The Leakey family's achievements have had an enormous impact on our knowledge of human origins and evolution. This biography describes their life in detail, including their discoveries, publications, controversies, and legacy. A timeline, glossary, and bibliography of print and electronic sources supplement the material.
About the Author
Mary Bowman-Kruhm is author of over 30 books for children and young adults and a member of the faculty, Johns Hopkins University, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education.
Table of Contents
Dedication and Acknowledgments
Significant Events in the Lives of the Leakeys
A Fact-finding Mission (Forward to the Past)
In the Beginning (Louis, 1925-1933)
Positive Choices, Negative Voices (Mary, 1913-1936; Louis, 1933-1936)
War and Children: Real Time (1937-1946)
Peace and Turmoil, Personal and Political (1947-1958)
Human History Carved in Bone (1959-1971)
Skull Drudgery and Skullduggery (1972-1977)
Contentious, Contention, and a Critical Condition (1978-1988)
Burning His Tusks behind Him (1989-2003)
But Wait, There's More (2004 and Beyond)
What People are Saying About This
"Mary Bowman-Kruhm finally offers her readers a condensed, but comprehensive biography of the Leakey legacy. For those not planning to read the several Leakey biographies and autobiographies, this one-stop treatise details the anthropological achievements of three generations of this world-renowned family. This book, written in simple language for general readers, not only illustrates the events in the personal lives of the Leakeys, but it also effectively gives a timeline of discoveries of the human fossils that have helped unravel the story of our origins and evolution. The storyline has not omitted the world historical events that affected and shaped the lives of the Leakeys. Mary has also acknowledged the contribution of native Kenyans in this anthropological adventure. She shows how the legacy torch is not only being passed to Louise Leakey, but also how the senior generation of the Leakeys inspired many into pursuing the knowledge of our origins. Mary has given a new meaning to the Leakey legacy."--(NASSER MALIT, PhD, Leakey Foundation's Baldwin Fellow, Department of Anthropology, Binghamton University)
"Louis and Mary Leakey, my grandparents, were so certain that they would find fossils that would prove that humans first evolved in Africa that they repeatedly returned to explore the sun baked soil at Olduvai Gorge over a period of 24 years. Finally, in 1959, my grandmother found the 1.8 million year old skull that they named Zinj and it amazed the world. During their careers, my mother Meave and father Richard added significantly to the trove of fossils from the Rift Valley and the understanding of our origins. Now, with an experienced field crew, I continue the work in northern Kenya. This biography well describes the personal story of three Leakey generations as we've searched for fossils that will help all of us understand our human past."