Biography of Mary Leakey

Essay by hurleysweetyHigh School, 10th grade April 2004

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Mary Leakey was a very important Anthropologist. She was born February 6, 1913 in London, England. Since her father painted, her family moved from town to town on many occasions. She grew up in places such as England, France and Italy. At age eleven, when she lived in Dorgogne, she became interested in prehistory after meeting Abbe Lemozi. Mary's life was very good until 1926 when her father died and she was shipped off to a Catholic convent school. She was expelled many times from the school. Mary later went on to receive a degree in prehistory. She was very determined and usually attended lectures on prehistory at the University of London.

Her first career opportunity happened when her artistic abilities were discovered by Dr. Thompson. She asked Mary to illustrate her book, The Desert Fayoum. Then, Dr. Thompson invited Mary to meet Louis Leakey while he was speaking at the Royal Anthropologist Institute.

He was very impressed by her drawings and asked her to illustrate a book of his, Adam's Ancestors. Louis then left his wife and two children for Tanzania in 1934. Mary and Louis married Christmas Eve 1936. Mary then started to work on excavating Hyrax Hill. She then moved onto the Naivasha Railway Rock. However, she took a break when her first son was born in 1940. Then she took another break in 1943 to give birth to their daughter who died three months later. Again, in 1944 another child was born, Richard Leakey. Another son was also born later in 1949.

In 1948, Mary made an exciting discovery. She found the skull and jaw of an apelike creature called Proconsul Africanus. It is dated at 18 million-years-old. Most of the 1950's were interrupted by political problems in Kenya. Although, in 1959, Mary discovered the Australopithecus...