Richard Leakey to Visit KenyonGAMBIER, Ohio (September 22, 2005) Richard Leakey made his first fossil find at the age of six--not surprising, since he is the son of the famed fossil-hunters Louis and Mary Leakey, whose discoveries contributed crucially to our understanding of human origins. Richard went on to forge his own distinguished career, one that embraced environmental activism and African politics as well as paleoanthropology. Today he is one of the most influential figures in world conservation.
Leakey will be visiting Kenyon this fall to present a talk titled "Evolutionary Opportunities: Ancient and Modern." The lecture, which is open to the public at no charge, takes place on Thursday, October 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the College's Rosse Hall Auditorium.
From 1989 to 1994, Leakey directed the Kenya Wildlife Service, where he was successful in combating elephant and rhinoceros poaching and in overhauling the country's troubled park system. After political opposition forced him to resign, he started a wildlife consulting agency. He has been secretary general of the Kenyan opposition party, Safina, and in 1997 was elected to an opposition seat in the Kenyan parliament.
He has also made notable contributions in the "family business" of uncovering fossils that shed light on human evolution. Among his most important discoveries are WT 15000, nicknamed the "Turkana Boy," a nearly complete skeleton of a Homo erectus boy found in 1984, and WT 17000, the first skull of the species Australopithecus aethiopicus, discovered in 1985. Leakey has written or co-authored more than a hundred scientific articles and books, including The Origin of Humankind, Origins Reconsidered, and The Sixth Extinction.
Leakey's appearance at Kenyon is sponsored by the Faculty Lectureships Committee.