Classic Africa
Home  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  888.227.8311
Classic Africa - Luxury African Safaris - Southern Africa Safaris
Best Luxury African Safaris and Tour OperatorsAfrican Safaris - Luxury Safaris in AfricaLuxury African Safari Vacations, Southern AfricaLuxury African Safari PropertiesLuxury African Safari Tours Southern AfricaLuxury African Safari Travel Resources
Don't know where to start? View some of our
or SCHEDULED SAFARIS  Schudule Safari

The Legacy of Richard Leakey


Richard Leakey, the renowned paleoanthropologist and conservationist, who contributed so much to our understanding of humankind, died on January 2nd at the age of 77 years.


Leakey, the son of globally known paleoanthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey, made profound contributions to the understanding of human evolution through key fossil finds of early hominids in the Rift Valley region of Kenya, which helped cement Africa's standing as the cradle of humanity.




 One of his most celebrated finds came in 1984 when he helped unearth "Turkana Boy," a 1.6 million year-old skeleton of a young male Homo erectus. The other was a skull called "1470," found in 1972 that extended the world's knowledge of the Homo erectus species several million years deeper into the past.

 "Mr. Leakey has probably been responsible for producing close to half of the world's evidence for human evolution" said Professor Lawrence Martin, director of the Turkana Basin Institute at Stony Brook University on Long Island.

Leakey was also a renowned conservationist and activist, serving as head of the Kenya Wildlife Service, and battling poachers who threatened to destroy the country's population of elephants and rhinos – bringing international attention to the illicit ivory trade.

He briefly entered Kenyan politics, forming an independent political party, and in the late 1990s took a position as head of Kenya's civil service, determined to fight corruption.

WildlifeDirect, which Leakey founded in 2004, wrote in a tribute on its website that he "stood for integrity, hard work and excellence in all areas — be it his work in paleontology, civil service, politics or wildlife conservation."

National Geographic described Leakey as a "swashbuckling, pugnacious real-life Indiana Jones" who "managed to cheat death many times — a childhood skull fracture, kidney and liver failures that required transplants, public beatings, and a plane crash — before passing away in his home outside Nairobi."

Toward the end of his life, Mr. Leakey dreamed of building a museum of humankind, to be called Ngaren, in the Rift Valley of Kenya. "Ngaren is not just another museum, but a call to action," Mr. Leakey said in a 2019 statement announcing its opening, scheduled for 2024. "As we peer back through the fossil record, through layer upon layer of long extinct species, many of which thrived far longer than the human species is ever likely to do, we are reminded of our mortality as a species."

Olduvai Gorge holds the earliest evidence of the existence of our human ancestors and can be visited during one's transfer from the Ngorongoro Crater to the Serengeti. Please contact us for more information if you are interested in visiting this birthplace of humankind as part of your East African journey. 

Classic Africa Welcomes Jacques Proust!
« previous

Let us help you plan your dream safari. call toll-free: 888.227.8311    or email us today
Web Solutions Connecticut CT Web Design & Development Company