Louis Leakey

Leakey, Louis Seymour Bazett

Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey (băz´ət, lē´kē), 1903–72, British archaeologist and anthropologist of E Africa, b. Kabete, Kenya; father of Richard Leakey. His fossil discoveries in E Africa demonstrated that humans were far older than had previously been suspected. Leakey, the son of missionary parents, grew up among the Kikuyu people of Kenya. After studying at Cambridge, he began his archaeological research in E Africa in 1924. Leakey was curator of the Coryndon Museum of Nairobi (1945–61), after which he did research and taught in Africa, England, and the United States. In 1959, Mary Leakey, his wife, discovered in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, a hominin fossil (Paranthropus, originally classified as Zinjanthropus) believed to be 1,750,000 years old. In 1961 Leakey unearthed another fossil (Homo habilis) at Olduvai, which he believed to be a more direct ancestor of Homo sapiens. His writings include The Stone Age Cultures of Kenya Colony (1931), Mau Mau and the Kikuyu (1952), and Adam's Ancestors (4th ed. 1953; repr. 1960).

See V. Morell, Ancestral Passions: The Leakey Family and the Quest for Humankind's Beginnings (1995).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Louis Leakey: Selected full-text books and articles

Mau Mau and the Kikuyu By L. S. B. Leakey Methuen, 1952
Defeating Mau Mau By L. S. B. Leakey Methuen, 1954
Mankind in the Making: The Story of Human Evolution By William Howells; Janis Cirulis Doubleday, 1967 (Revised edition)
Librarian's tip: Chap. 7 "Dart, Broom, Leakey, and Australopithecus"
Man, Time, and Fossils: The Story of Evolution By Ruth Moore Alfred A. Knopf, 1961 (2nd Rev. edition)
Librarian's tip: Chap. XVI "The Leakeys, East Africa and Man"
Man before Adam: The Story of Man in Search of His Origins By Robert Silverberg; Judith Ann Lawrence Macrae Smith, 1964
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Leakey begins on p. 172
The African Experience By Roland Oliver Icon Editions, 1991 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Louis Leakey begins on p. 4
Revealing Prophets: Prophecy in Eastern African History By David M. Anderson; Douglas H. Johnson James Currey, 1995
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Louis Leakey begins on p. 262
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