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Mary Leakey Biography
For most of her career she worked with her husband Louis Leakey in the Olduvai Gorge, where they uncovered fossils of ancient hominins and early hominins, as well as stone tools produced by the latter group. Mary Leakey developed a system for classifying stone tools found at Olduvai. After the death of Mary Leakey’s husband in 1972, Leakey became director of excavations at Olduvai. He maintained the leaky family tradition of Palaeolithic science by training his son Richard in the field.
Mary Leakey Full Name
Mary Douglas Nicol Leakey
Date of Birth
6 February 1913
9 December 1996 (aged 83)
Place of Death
Grande Dame of Archeology
Zinjanthropus fossil; Laetoli footprints
University College London
Mary Leakey Children
They had three children whose names are
1. Jonathan Leakey 2. Richard Leakey 3. Philip Leakey
Who Was Mary Leakey
Mary Douglas Leakey Archaeologist and paleontologist who discovered many fossils of great importance to human understanding. Her early discoveries were attributed to her husband, the famous anthropologist Louis Leakey. Mary demonstrated a natural talent for drawing and had an interest in archaeology.
Mary Leakey Childhood
Mary Leakey was born Erskine Edward Nicholl and Cecilia Marion (Frere) Nicholl on 6 February 1913 in London, England. The Nicole family moved to several places in the United States, Italy and Egypt where Erskine painted watercolors which he brought back and sold in England. It was during these visits that Mary began to develop an enthusiasm for Egyptology.
On her mother’s side, Mary was the third great-granddaughter of the antiquarian John Frere. The Frere family was an active abolitionist in the British colonial empire during the 19th century and founded several communities for freed slaves. Three of these communities were still in existence when Leakey published his 1984 autobiography: Freetown, Kenya; Freetown, South Africa; and Freetown, India.
Nicolas spent most of his time in southern France where young Marie became fluent in French. In 1925, when Marie was 12 years old, Nicolas lived in the commune, Les Eises, when Peroni, a French archaeologist and prehistoricist, was excavating a cave there. The Peyronies were not scientifically excavating during that early stage of archaeology and did not understand the importance of what they found. Mary got permission to go through the remains of her excavation and it was here that her interest in prehistory and archaeology arose. He began collecting marks, scrapers and blades from dumps and developed his first system of classification.
Mary Leakey Education
Mary was placed in a local Catholic convent to be educated, and she later claimed that she never passed the exams there. Although she spoke French fluently, Marie did not excel in French language studies, apparently because her teacher noticed her provincial accent. Mary was expelled from another convent school because of an explosion in a chemistry laboratory. After the second eviction, her mother hired two tutors, who were no more successful than nuns.
Mary Leakey Death
Mary Leakey died on 9 December 1996 in Nairobi, Kenya at the age of 83. Her family, which announced her death, did not give any reason saying that she died peacefully.
Awards and honours
Honorary D.Sc., University of Michigan, 1980
Honorary D.Litt., Oxford, 1981
Honorary D.Sc., University of the Witwatersrand, 1968
Honorary DSSc, Yale, 1976
Gold Medal of Society of Woman Geographers, 1975
The Hubbard Medal of National Geographic Society, 1962 – jointly with Louis Leakey
The Prestwich Medal, Geological Society of London, 1969 – jointly with Louis Leakey
Linnaeus Gold Medal of the Royal Swedish Academy, 1978
The Elizabeth Blackwell Award, 1980
Mary Leakey Quotes
“I’d rather be in a tent than in a house.”—Mary Leakey
“The first money I ever earned was for drawing stone tools.”—Mary Leakey
“No amounts of stone and bone could yield the kinds of information that the paintings gave so freely.”—Mary Leakey
Mary Leakey Biography (FAQs)
What is mary leakey famous for?
Mary leakey famous for Zinjanthropus fossil; Laetoli footprints.
What is Mary Leakey Education?
Mary Leakey Education is University College London.
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