Leakey, Louis Seymour Bazett

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Leakey, Louis Seymour Bazett

(băz`ət, lē`kē), 1903–72, British archaeologist and anthropologist of E Africa, b. Kabete, Kenya; father of Richard LeakeyLeakey, Richard Erskine Frere
, 1944–, Kenyan paleoanthropologist, conservationist, and government official. The son of Louis and Mary Leakey, he spent much of his early life at archaeological sites in E Africa.
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. His fossil discoveries in E Africa demonstrated that humans were far older than had previously been suspected. Leakey, the son of missionary parents, grew up among the Kikuyu people of Kenya. After studying at Cambridge, he began his archaeological research in E Africa in 1924. Leakey was curator of the Coryndon Museum of Nairobi (1945–61), after which he did research and taught in Africa, England, and the United States. In 1959, Mary LeakeyLeakey, Mary Douglas,
1913–96, British archaeologist, b. London as Mary Douglas Nicol; wife of Louis Leakey and mother of Richard Leakey. She had little formal education, but a fascination with archaeology led to her supervising her first dig in England in 1934.
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, his wife, discovered in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, a hominin fossil (Paranthropus, originally classified as Zinjanthropus) believed to be 1,750,000 years old. In 1961 Leakey unearthed another fossil (Homo habilis) at Olduvai, which he believed to be a more direct ancestor of Homo sapiens. His writings include The Stone Age Cultures of Kenya Colony (1931), Mau Mau and the Kikuyu (1952), and Adam's Ancestors (4th ed. 1953; repr. 1960).


See V. Morell, Ancestral Passions: The Leakey Family and the Quest for Humankind's Beginnings (1995).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Leakey, Louis Seymour Bazett


Born Aug. 7, 1903, in Kabete, Kenya; died Oct. 1, 1972, in London. British archaeologist and anthropologist.

In 1927–29, Leakey excavated Gamble’s Cave and established the relative chronology of a number of East African archaeological cultures. In 1930 he excavated the Neolithic Njoro Cave. Beginning in 1951 he studied rock drawings in Tanzania. Of great significance are his discoveries in 1959–60 in Olduvai Gorge of the bone remains of the fossil primates Zinjanthropus and pre-Zinjanthropus, as well as the skull of a man resembling the Java Pithecanthropus.


The Stone Age Cultures of Kenya Colony. Cambridge, 1931.
The Stone Age Races of Kenya. London, 1935.
Stone Age Africa. London, 1936.
Olduvai Gorge 1951–1961, vols. 1–2. Cambridge, 1965–67. (Vol. 2 in collaboration with P. W. Tobians.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.