January 24, 2022
Richard Erskine Leakey (December 19, 1944 Nairobi, Kenya - January 2, 2022) was a Kenyan politician and paleontologist, a continuing research in his parents Mary and Louise Leakey. He did not finish high school and made a living as a safari from a young age. In 1963–4 he was co-leader of the paleontological expedition to Lake Natron in Tanzania and the expedition to Lake Baringo in Kenya (1966). He took part in an international expedition to the Omo River in 1967. Since 1974, he has been the director of the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi. He became famous for research on the eastern shore of Lake Turkana, where in 1984 he found the skeleton of a nine-year-old Homo ergaster boy known as KNM-WT 15000 or Turkana Boy. His wife Maeve Leakey and daughter Louise Leakey collaborated on the research. He suffered a plane crash in 1993, after which both legs had to be amputated and replaced with prostheses. Since 2007, he has worked at the Kenyan branch of Transparency International. He was involved in the fight against the Tanzanian government's plan to build a highway through the Serengeti National Park. In 2004, he became the director of the WildlifeDirect program. He also lectured anthropology at Stony Brook University in New York. He called himself an atheist and demanded that evolution be taught in all schools.