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Paleontologist Richard Leakey dies at Age 77


joigus
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https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/jan/02/fossil-hunter-richard-leakey-who-showed-humans-evolved-in-africa-dies-at-77?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&fbclid=IwAR1PhZqET2nyh3CUhPbAvWs63MVs4l5o5mEP2j6bbH6iEqYIPvmCararT5w

Sorry about the bad news.

An excerpt of his book with Roger Lewin, Origins Reconsidered, is forever etched in my memory, where he paints a vivid picture of a young Homo erectus dying, and slowly, through more than a million years, becoming the fossil he and Alan Walker discovered at Lake Turkana, and forever after called the Turkana boy:

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[...] The deeper the stream cut, the more the sloping land surface eroded away. Now that the boy's cranium was near the surface again, moisture could reach it. And the upside-down cranium served to trap moisture providing a favourable spot for the seed to germinate. As the tree grew, its roots penetrated into the soil, and the cranium shattered in slow motion, the fragments held in the ancient sediment.

This image of a wait-a-bit thorn springing from what once was a boy's head I find bordering poetry.

Edited by joigus
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2 hours ago, joigus said:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/jan/02/fossil-hunter-richard-leakey-who-showed-humans-evolved-in-africa-dies-at-77?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&fbclid=IwAR1PhZqET2nyh3CUhPbAvWs63MVs4l5o5mEP2j6bbH6iEqYIPvmCararT5w

Sorry about the bad news.

An excerpt of his book with Roger Lewin, Origins Reconsidered, is forever etched in my memory, where he paints a vivid picture of a young Homo erectus dying, and slowly, through more than a million years, becoming the fossil he and Alan Walker discovered at Lake Turkana, and forever after called the Turkana boy:

This image of a wait-a-bit thorn springing from what once was a boy's head I find bordering poetry.

Commiserations: Another great bites the dust. While not totally into his field, I always remember the dedication and perceptions of his Dad, and the dedicated students that he had, ( particularly from the movie "Gorilla's in the Mist")  like Dianne Fossey and Jane Goodall. Dedicated scientists such as Richard, his Dad, and Dianne and Jane, are great examples of science, that many are not that familiar with.

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They are a family of paleoantropologists; Louis and Mary Leakey, as well as Richard's wife, Meave. Richard Leakey was an out and out field scientist. He was raised in the African savanna, rather than an academic environment. Neither he or his parents, probably, changed the big picture of the evolution of Homo sapiens by themselves. Although his father, Louis, is credited with having found a fossil that nobody knows where to put, Homo habilis. They mostly dug the ground, described what was there, and kept looking. But they were people who knew the environment inside out. R. Leakey was very involved in wildlife management and conservation strategies too. Very interesting people all of them.

Here's a sample of what Richard Leakey was. Attenborough, Dawkins, Goodall, and Leakey discussing strategies to "save the planet." (2005.) The Selfish Green:

IMHO, the contributions of Goodall and Leaky are priceless, and invaluable in their effort to tie these other two great minds to the ground, if I've understood them correctly. 

 

"It's very much part of being a primate, and the whole business of being a primate is to get other primates to do what you think is right"

--Richard Leakey

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