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Lewis Leakey examining skulls from Olduvai Gorge, Africa.

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Public domain This image is a work of a Bureau of Land Management* employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain in the United States.
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Louis Leakey, along with his wife Mary, was a famed paleoanthropologist1who greatly contributed to world knowledge about humanity’s early ancestors.Louis Leakey was born on August 7, 1903in Kenya, andestablished an excavation site at Olduvai Gorge to search for fossils. The team made unprecedented discoveries of hominids2millions of years old linked to human evolution.Leakey,an avid lecturer, author, and primatologist, died on October 1, 1972.During the 1950s, Louis Leakey discovered some of the earliest human remains. His goal was to prove the location of where humans first lived. Leakey made many interesting discoveries, including human bones,cave paintings, stone tools, and a mammoth tusk. In 1959 the Leakeys began major excavations a Olduvari, which led to the discovery of ancient tools and animal fossils. That year, Mary discovered a human fossil named that would be estimated to be around 2 million years old.The Olduvai discoveries were a sensation, because they revealedhumanity's origins. Leakey turned away from excavations in Africa—with son Richard andwifeMary continuing his work—and focused on fundraising, lecturing and primatology, mentoring Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey.

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