Richard Leakey, Kenyan Fossil Hunter and Conservationist, Dies at 77

“I was angry to this day that they took the bone away from me because it was too important for a 4-year-old to be digging up,” he mentioned.

After he determined to pursue fossil searching, he first sought a level in anthropology in London however ran out of cash earlier than beginning and returned to Kenya to study the topic firsthand. He had, in fact, already had extra expertise within the area than most graduate anthropologists.

Mr. Leakey ultimately discovered his means again into the classroom when he discovered fame as a fossil hunter and grew to become a sought-after lecturer. His talks drew enormous paying crowds of each keen college students and established students.

He had by no means been to a college, he appreciated to say, besides to lecture.

His survivors embody his spouse Meave, herself a famend paleoanthropologist, and his daughters Louise and Samira, based on WildlifeDirect. He additionally has three grandchildren, Professor Martin mentioned.

Mr. Leakey believed strongly in a message his father had written way back, that the previous was the “key to our future.” For him, paleoanthropology and conservation had been “deeply entwined,” mentioned Paige Madison, a paleoanthropology historian primarily based in Copenhagen.

Toward the top of his life, Mr. Leakey dreamed of constructing a museum of humankind, to be known as Ngaren. It can be located within the Rift Valley of Kenya, the location of considered one of his most well-known discoveries, the Turkana Boy.

“Ngaren is not just another museum, but a call to action,” Mr. Leakey mentioned in a 2019 statement asserting its opening, scheduled for 2024. “As we peer back through the fossil record, through layer upon layer of long extinct species, many of which thrived far longer than the human species is ever likely to do, we are reminded of our mortality as a species.”

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