Though technically defined as an archaeologist, Mary chose to follow a route of interesting research relating to physical anthropology. She is known mostly for the excavation of a two million-year-old fossilized human skull in 1959. She has also worked to help the world understand that the evolution of humans follows a principle rather than a theory. The name Leakey is synonymous in most people’s minds with the successive dramatic discoveries of fossilized hominid bones and stone artifacts that have, over the years, pushed the origins of true man further and further back in prehistory. Less flamboyant than her husband, Louis S.
B. Leakey, or her son Richard Leakey, Mary Leakey was the ‘unsung hero,” of the clan for years, even though she was, in fact, responsible for many of the spectacular Leakey finds, including the nearly complete skull of Zinjanthropus, which was at first thought to be the missing human evolutionary link. Mrs. Leakey finally received a measure of long-overdue public recognition with her discovery, in 1978, of 3. 5-million-year-old fossilized hominid footprints at Laetoli in Tanzania, proving beyond a doubt that the australopithecines had walked upright.
On July 17, 1959 Mary Leakey made her second major discovery. Accompanied only by her two Dalmatians, Mary Leakey set off to investigate the oldest layer at the site. As she surveyed the exposure with her practiced eye, a scrap of bone protruding from the ground caught her attention. Gently brushing aside some of the deposit, she saw two large hominid teeth in place in an upper jaw. Mrs. Leakey raced back to camp shouting, ‘I’ve got him! I’ve got him!’ Using camel’s-hair brushes and dental picks, the Leakeys gingerly uncovered a full palate and set of teeth; by sifting through tons of eroded scree, they eventually found about 400 bone fragments, which when pieced together formed an almost complete hominid skull, later dated at 1.
... on September 1994 despite that this was 3 years after the discovery of the Ice man. Many people had ... proportions of the skull and in turn, shapes a generic face to ... used a laser to scan the skull into a facial reconstructing system. That measured the ... a life sized replica of Otzi’s skull and sent it in to Vanezies who then ...
75 million years, of the genus Zinjanthropus. Over the next few months, Mary Leakey found other hominid bones and 164 stone tools of twelve different types, including choppers, scrapers, anvils, and hammer stones. As luck would have it, a camera crew for the British television series On Safari arrived on the scene the day after Mary Leakey’s momentous find, and thus it was that ‘Zinj’ came to international public attention. For the Leakeys, it meant worldwide recognition. Fame brought controversy, too, and it was not long before Louis Leakey’s bold assertion that ‘Zinj’ was the so-called ‘missing link’ between the primitive ape-men and Homo sapiens was proved to be incorrect. Subsequent discoveries by the Leakeys and by other archaeologists suggested that ‘Zinj’ was in fact a new species of the man-like australopithecines, a hominid line that developed parallel to the genus Homo.
In the course of large-scale excavations at Olduvai over the next few years, the Leakeys dug out of the same sedimentary layer as ‘Zinj’ a hominid skull that was clearly more similar to that of modern man. They named the creature Homo habilis, or ‘able man,’ for his apparent technological skills, and the crude stone tools originally attributed to Zinjanthropus now had to be considered the handiwork of his bigger-brained contemporary. As Mary Leakey observed, ‘Until then the idea that two hominids could occupy the same area at the same time had been unacceptable to most scientists.’ By the mid-1960 s, the Leakeys had established a permanent camp at Olduvai Gorge, and it was there that Mary Leakey lived for most of the year. After her husband’s death, in 1972, Mary Leakey had to take a more public role. She traveled widely in Europe and in the United States, while continuing to spend as much time as possible in the East African bush. In 1978, at Laetoli, on the Serengeti Plain some thirty miles south of Olduvai Gorge, she stumbled upon what she has since described as ‘the most significant’ of her finds: a twenty-three-meter-long trail of hominid footprints, ‘so sharp that they could have been left this morning,’ preserved in volcanic ash that had been dated at 3.
... tropical parts of these continents about 500, 000 years ago. Later hominids were able to cross the water barrier into Australia ... that modern man, Homo Sapiens, first appeared more than 90, 000 years ago. There is disagreement with scientists on whether the hominid fossils ... hominids were eating meat. Evidence of a large-brained, small-toothed man known as Homo Erectus was found 1. 5 million years ...
6 million years. Mary Leakey theorized that the tracks were made by three individuals — two adults, whom she was tempted to see as a man and a woman, and a youngster. The smaller of the two adults had deliberately stepped into the prints left by her larger companion, apparently in play. Despite large-scale excavations, the surrounding beds, while rich in hominid remains and in unusual animal fossils, yielded not a single tool, suggesting that bipedalism preceded formalized toolmaking. She said, ‘This unique ability [to walk upright] freed the hands for myriad possibilities — carrying, toolmaking, and intricate manipulation.
From this single development, in fact, stems all modern technology. Somewhat oversimplified, the formula holds that this new freedom of forelimbs posed a challenge. The brain expanded to meet it. And mankind was formed.’.