British Dictionary definitions for mary leakey
Scientific definitions for mary leakey
The discoveries made by the famous Leakey family of anthropologists and paleontologists are nowadays so familiar (at least in their general import) that we can easily forget how much they changed our views of hominid evolution. Before Louis and his wife Mary made their first major discoveries, it was widely thought that humans had originated in Asia. This was because our immediate ancestor, Homo erectus, had been discovered in East and Southeast Asia, and for a long time its best and oldest fossil remains came from there (such as the famous Java Man and Peking Man). The Leakeys' discoveries of an earlier hominid species, Homo habilis, showed not only that hominid evolution was a good deal earlier than previously thought, but also that it had been centered in East Africa. Interestingly, Louis Leakey had (at least indirectly) almost as much influence on the study of modern primates as he did on the study of ancient ones: he persuaded Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey to live among gorillas and chimpanzees to study their behavior over long periods of time.
Cultural definitions for mary leakey
A family of anthropologists whose work at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania and elsewhere revealed that humans probably first evolved in Africa. Louis Leakey and his wife, Mary, discovered fossils of human ancestors dating back over 3.75 million years. Their son, Richard Leakey, continued to make discoveries in Kenya and Tanzania.