June 9, 2023


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Famous Kenyan archaeologist Richard Leakey has died

Richard Leakey, a world-renowned ancient scientist and politician from Kenya, has died at the age of 77. “I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Dr. Richard Erskine Freire Leakey, former head of the Kenya Wildlife Service this afternoon.”President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement on Sunday (January 2).

The son of Louis and Mary Leakey, one of the most famous discoverers of hominid skeletons, Richard Leakey was born on December 19, 1944 in Kenya, apparently a paleontologist. Working as a safari guide is the fate he tries to escape at his young age.

Read more The article is reserved for our subscribers Richard Leakey, a tireless archaeologist of African descent

However, at the age of 23, without a university education, he followed in his parents’ footsteps when he received a grant from the National Geographical Society for Archaeological Survey on the shores of Lake Durgana in northern Kenya. Excavations in this hospitable semi-desert land.

In the 1970s, he led many voyages crowned with great and unprecedented discoveries, including the first skulls.Man of the hand (1.9 million years) in 1972 andThe man standing (1.6 million years) in 1975. Gained its fame: in 1977, Newspaper Time Dedicates his “one” to him ; In 1981, the BBC released a documentary on seven episodes in which he was a commentator and presenter on the evolution of mankind.

His most famous discovery was made in 1984, during a survey of Lake Dugana, where he discovered an almost complete skeleton.The man standing 1.63 meters, died 1.5 million years ago: “Durkana boy”, the complete fossil ever discovered by one of our ancestors.

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Fight against predators

In 1989, he was approached by then-President Daniel Arab Moi to become head of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). There he campaigned vigorously against the poaching of ivory.

In 1993, his small plane crashed into the Chesapeake in the fissure valley of Kenya. Both of his legs were amputated due to the accident. “At that time, there were constant threats against me, I lived with armed guards, but I decided not to play the play and not to say‘ they tried to kill me ’., He said in 2015 Financial Times. I chose to continue living. “

He was forced to leave the KWS a year later and entered politics, joining many critical voices of the authoritarian Moin corrupt regime. His career as an adversary was short-lived and Daniel Arab Moy persuaded him in 1998 to lead the fight against corruption. The mission turns out to be impossible, and he throws in the towel two years later.

In 2015, due to a new poaching crisis, another president, Uhuru Kenyatta, invited him to take charge of the KWS regime, this time as chairman of the board, until 2018.

The cancer had destroyed his skin, his disheveled hair testified to the weight of the years, and he repeatedly suffered from liver and kidney disease. But over the age of 70, he was brewing wine on a farm in the Rift Valley.

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World with AFP