Contribution of Leakey family Essay Sample

Started modern scientific discipline of palaeoanthropology ( Study of Human Origins )

Louis and Mary Leakey found dodos in Tanzania and Kenya that indicated man’s development began in East Africa 2 million old ages ago. far earlier than was believed at the clip of the find.

In Kenya in 1947. Mary Leakey discovered the skull of Proconsul africanus. an ape-like ascendant of both apes and prehistoric adult male that ived about 25 million old ages ago.

1978 she made her most of import find: footmarks frozen for 3. 5 million old ages in volcanic clay that demonstrated that early hominids walked upright much earlier than antecedently thought.

she found fossilised parts of the upper dentition and skull of a hominid no 1 had recorded earlier. gnawing out of an country near Bed I. In the following three hebdomads the Leakeys found more than 400 pieces to consist an about complete skull. It was non excessively different from remains found in South Africa by Raymond Dart in 1924 and by Robert Broom in 1936. ( Those discoveries had non been accurately dated because of the manner they were found and the deficiency of dating technology. ) But the Leakeys thought their find different plenty to represent a new class of hominids. and called it Zinjanthropus boisei. They suggested that it lived 1. 75 million old ages ago

In 1960. Mary Leakey and boy Jonathan found another. smaller signifier of hominid at Olduvai that they believed was different and more advanced. They called it Homo habilis ( ready to hand homo ) because it appeared to be the first homo to utilize tools. The appellation of these two new groups raised a great trade of contention. Zinjanthropus has since been put by most scientists into the Australopithecine genus. which the South African discoveries besides belong to. though in different species. Homo habilis is now widely accepted. dating back about 2 million old ages. The 1972 find by the Leakeys’ boy Richard of another Homo habilis ( frequently called Turkana Boy or ER-1470 ) . dated to 1. 900. 000 old ages ago. helped corroborate this. It besides supported L. S. B. Leakey’s galvanizing suggestion that the Homo genus did non germinate from Australopithecus. but that parallel line of descents of hominids were developing at the same clip he was besides mostly responsible for converting other scientists that Africa was the cardinal location in which to seek for grounds of human beginnings.

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Leakey began taking expeditions to Olduvai. a river gorge in Tanzania. where he found of import dodos and Stone Age tools. In 1948 he reported happening a 20-million-year-old skull. which he named Proconsul africanus. Now considered to be excessively specialized to hold been a direct ascendant of current ape and human populations. Proconsul is still considered scientifically valuable as a theoretical account for early human ascendants.

Richard celebrated ( with Alan Walker in 1984 ) . “Turkana Boy. ” a Homo erectus approximately 1. 6 million old ages old. is one of the most complete skeletons of all time found.


Meave Leakey late impressed the universe with her 1999 find of a 3. 5 million-year-old skull and partial jaw believed to belong to new subdivision of early hominids

Kenyanthropus platyops ( flat-faced adult male of Kenya ) . This singular find. announced in the journal Nature. has profound deductions in understanding the beginnings of world. In its front-page narrative on March 22. 2001. The New York Times wrote that the find “threatens to turn over the prevailing position that a individual line of descent stretched through the early phases of human lineage.

Field research in Turkana has focused on happening grounds of the really earliest human ascendants. concentrating on sites between 8 and 4 million old ages old. In 1994. remains of some of the earliest hominids known were discovered at Kanapoi. south West of the lake part. Not merely do these discoveries represent a new species Australopithecus anamensis ( a likely ascendant of Australopithecus afarensis. the earliest hominid species antecedently recognized ) . but the dating of the discovery at four million old ages old has called for revising the recognized timeline for the development of hominids.

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