Richard Leakey
Richard Leakey was born December 19, 1944 in Nairobi, Kenya. His parents were
the esteemed anthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey. Richard first became a tour
guide in Kenya, but changed his mind when he found an extinct human jaw. He then
schooled himself by completing a two-year secondary education program in six
months. From 1967-77 he and his co-workers dug up around 400 fossils, that
accounted for 230 individuals. The most important discovery was an almost
complete skull found in 1977, which Richard believe to be a new species called

Homo habilis. Richard Leakey’s accomplishments are discovering the crania of

Australopithecus boisei in 1969 with the archaeologist Glynn Isaac on the East
shores of Lake Turkana, Homo habilis in 1972, and Homo erectus in1975. He was
appointed administrative director in 1968 of the National Museum of Kenya, and
in director 1974. Since 1989 he has been director of the Wildlife and

Conservation Management Service, Kenya. His publications include Origins in 1977
and The Making of Mankind in 1981, both with Roger Lewin. Australopithecus
africanus inhabited the earth roughly 3 - 1.6 million years ago. The
characteristic difference between the Ausrtalopithicus afarenis and africanus is
the height and brain capacity. The height of the africanus is 1.4 m and the
brain capacity is approximately 400 - 600 cc. Smaller incisor teeth and a
slightly flatter face are also noted. The afarensis has a height of 1.2 m and a
cranial capacity of 380 - 450 cc. Sticks, and stones were most likely used to
gather food by the Australopithecus africanus. Homo habilis (also known as
"handy man") is theorized to have lived with Australopithecus
africanus. Homo habilis was known as "handy man" because he used primative
stone tools. The flat face and large molars of the Homo habilis resemble the

Australopithecus lineage. The brain size of the Homo habilis is about 700 cc
which is larger than the Australopithecus). The "apelike" body
structure with long arms and a small body was a characteristic of the Homo
habilis. Recent discoveries, such as from Lake Turkana, of better-preserved
fossils have revealed new insights on early Homo in the Plio-Pleistocene. Of
this new habilis material, the most amazing is a nearly complete cranium
discovered in 1972 at East Lake Turakana. This individual, with a cranial
capacity if 775 cm3, is clearly outside the known range for Australopithecines
and it overlaps the lower boundary for Homo. Also, the shape of the skull vault
and face are unlike that of Australopithec- ines.


Lewin, Roger. Human Evolution: An Illustrated Introduction: Second Edition.

London: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1989. Lambert, David. The Cambridge

Guide to Prehistoric Man. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Jurmain,

Robert/ Nelson, Harry/ Kilgore, Lynn. Essentials of Physical Anthropology:

Second Edition. San Francisco: West Publishing Company, 1995. Howell, Clark.

LIFE Nature Library Early Man. Canada: Time Inc., 1971.