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Louis and Mary Leakey and their son Richard are noted paleoanthropologists whose research in the Olduvai Gorge in East Africa advanced the study of human evolution All of English descent they lived and conducted their research in Kenya and spent much of their lives hunting fossils throughout East Africa Until the 1940s and 1950s when the Leakeys made their discoveries scientists believed that modern humans descended from a single evolutionary chain that evolved in East Africa The Leakeys discovered a series of fossils that indicated that different types of early humans coexisted in East Africa which put kinks in the theory of a single evolutionary chain Johanson Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey a British-Kenyan paleoanthropologist noted for his discoveries of fossil remains that greatly advanced the study of human evolution The son of English missionary parents Leakey was born in Kabete Kenya and raised among the Kikuyu people he later wrote a definitive study of their culture Louis was initiated by tribal elders into the native Kikuyu society As a young man he was adventurous impulsive driven ruggedly handsome and romantically African Leakey was educated at the University of Cambridge where he eventually earned a doctorate in anthropology At the age of 20 he interrupted his formal education to return to Africa as a member of a British Museum fossil-reptile expedition to Tanganyika now Tanzania Louis set out to prove Darwins theory that Africa was humankinds homeland--and to discover evidence for his own belief that true man Homo had a very ancient origin Bodley Beginning in 1926 Leakey led expeditions to Olduvai a river gorge in Tanganyika where he found important fossils and Stone Age tools In 1948 he reported the finding in Kenya of a 20-million-year-old skull which he named Proconsul africanus Though it is now regarded to be too specialized to have been a direct ancestor of current ape and human populations Proconsul is still considered a valuable model for what
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