Meave Leakey

Paleontologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Meave Leakey has received numerous National Geographic research grants to carry on the historic legacy begun by Louis S. B. Leakey with his fossil discoveries in Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge. In 1969, at the invitation of Richard Leakey, she joined a field expedition to the paleontological site of Koobi Fora on the eastern shores of Kenya’s Lake Turkana. With her daughter Louise Leakey, Meave now runs a research station at Lake Turkana to facilitate the identification and study of new specimens. In 1999, on a National Geographic–sponsored expedition, they uncovered a 3.5-million-year old skull and partial jaw believed to belong to a new branch of early human—a discovery that has profound implications in understanding human origins. Meave will join the expedition in Botswana and remain with the group in Rwanda.

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