Richard Leakey, the paleoanthropologist behind many of the fossil discoveries of human ancestors, has died. He is 77 years old.
Leakey, whose parents were famous paleoanthropologists Mary and Louis Leakey, slept on Sundays at their home in Kenya.
As a young man, he decided not to follow in his parents’ footsteps, but soon changed his mind and set out to explore the area around Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, where over the years he made several notable discoveries, including the two million well-preserved year-old skull of Homo rudolfensis , an early human species.
Leakey’s most famous find is the Turkana Boy, a complete skeleton of a young Homo erectus about 1.6 million years old.
In recent years, Leakey has left the entire fossil hunt to his wife, Maeve, and daughter, Louise, to devote themselves full time to protecting Kenya’s wildlife. He was for a short time the head of the Kenya Wildlife Service of the Kenya Wildlife Service.
“Unapologetic writer. Bacon enthusiast. Introvert. Evil troublemaker. Friend of animals everywhere.”