- Category : Travel-Explorer
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Education 2
British author and paleoanthropoligist.
He is second son of prominent anthropologist parents Louis and Mary Leakey. He wrote for popular and science magazines and authored "The Making of Mankind." With his wife, Meave, a trained zoologist and their eldest daughter Louise, he has led teams to northern Kenya where four million year old fossils and relics have been discovered.
Leakey was born into a family that dominated the anthropology science field in an unprecedented way. His father, Louis, included among his findings a 1.8 million-year old skull at Koobi Fora in 1972. His mother, Mary, in 1959, discovered the Zinjanthropus cranium at Olduvai that captured worldwide attention and make Leakey a household name. Following this discovery, the Leakeys were able to attract a multidisciplinary group that helped launched the modern science of paleoanthropology, the study of human origins.
Richard Leakey first gained attention in 1970 at the University of Chicago, when he had completed a presentation on finds from Lake Turkana in Nairobi. He had been involved with safaris for awhile, before deciding to follow in his parents’ footsteps. In 1972, Richard presented a Homo skull that he believed was 2.9 million years old: The discovery was an endorsement of his father’s views, and brought the two men back together after a long feud, and before Louis died in 1972. (The skull has since been correctly dated to 1.8 million years.)
Leakey’s fossil finds continued, including the 1.6 million-year-old skeleton of an African Homo erectus and the Black Skull. He wrote a best-selling book, had a television series on human evolution, and was popular on lecture tours.
Politically active, he founded an opposition political party in Kenya, Africa in 1995, which resulted in public humiliation. In January 1969 he first faced and endured kidney failure for ten years until his brother Philip (formerly estranged) donated a kidney in 1979. He lost partial use of both legs in a 1993 plane crash.
In 1989, he was appointed head of what is now the Kenya Wildlife Service by President Danielarap Moi. He raised millions of dollars and revamped Kenya’s approach to wildlife conservation. He resigned in 1994 amid politics, but was reinstated by Moi in 1998.
His wife, Meave, is a trained zoologist and they have three daughters.