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Richard Leakey Conservationist, paleoanthropologist


Richard Erskine Leakey is a world-renowned anthropologist, activist, Stony Brook University professor of anthropology and chair of SBU's Turkana Basin Institute. Between 1968 and 1989, he coordinated the National Museums of Kenya field expeditions to the eastern and western shores of Lake Turkana. Many important finds were made, including early stone age tools dating to around 1.9 million years old, evidence of early members of the genus Homo, including skulls of Homo habilis and Homo erectus, and remains of robust australopithecines A. boisei and A. aethiopicus. The extraordinary discovery of the nearly complete 1.6 million year old skeleton of the Nariokotome Boy (or Turkana Boy), a Homo erectus youth, was among the most significant. As head of the Kenya Wildlife Services, Richard successfully combated elephant and rhino poaching and oversaw a reorganization of Kenya’s troubled national park system. He served as a leading spokesman for Transparency International, a global coalition to fight corruption, and for the Great Apes Survival Project, a United Nations effort to defend mankind's closest relatives. His books include The Origin of Humankind and The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Mankind.

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