Mary Leakey – Sources of World (TV14; 1:31) Mary Leakey’s discovery of early human fossils helped scientists to further understand the sources of mankind.
She married Louis Leakey as well as the pair soon became one of science’s best known husband-wife teams. Mary continued working after her husband’s departure.
Mary Douglas Leakey was a paleoanthropologist who’s famous for making several outstanding archaeological and anthropological discoveries throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Working with husband Louis Leakey, her longtime co-worker, she uncovered several fossils in Africa, which significantly improved scientific knowledge of the sources of mankind. The daughter of an artist, in a youthful age, Leakey excelled at drawing—a gift that she later used to enter into the field of paleoanthropology. When she was only 17 years old, she served as an illustrator in a dig in England. The pair hit it off immediately and soon developed a personal relationship. They married in 1937, forming one of science’s most well known husband-wife teams.
Mary Leakey made her first major discovery in 1948: She discovered a partial skull fossil of Proconsul africanus, an ancestor of apes and people that later evolved to both different species. Her find was really extraordinary; the fossil, considered to be more than 18 million years of age, was the primary species of the primate genus to be found in the Miocene era.
Mary Leakey farther helped to unravel mystery encompassing the origins of mankind with her 1959 find: That July, while Louis was resting, recuperating from a bout of the flu, Mary found the partial skull of an early human ancestor. It was later discovered that Zinjanthropus boisei was almost 2 million years of age, revealing how long the species have been in Africa. Their find additionally supplied evidence the species were skillful to make stone tools—making them the first known specialists in that area. Almost two decades after discovering Homo habilis, in 1979, she found a trail of early human footprints at Laetoli, a site in Tanzania. The find was the first in the annals of science to offer direct evidence of physical action by world’s apelike ancestors, altering formerly held assumptions about primates.
Throughout her decades-long career as a paleoanthropologist, Mary Leakey’s jobs were financed in part from the National Geographic Society, through dozens of grants. She chronicled her experiences in the 1979 publication Olduvai Gorge: My Search for Early Man, along with in her 1984 autobiography Revealing the Past. Mary Leakey expired on December 9, 1996, in Nairobi, Kenya. Now, Mary Leakey’s work continues through the Leakey Foundation as well as the younger generations of the Leakey family: Richard Leakey, his wife, Meave, as well as their daughter, Louise, play effective parts in carrying on the family heritage.
Marie Curie – Radioactive Girl (TV14; 1:12) View a brief video about Marie Curie and uncover what achievements the genius scientist realized as a female.
Charles Darwin – The Shocking Novel (TV-PG; 1:22) At age 50 Darwin disclosed the theory of evolution in the Origin of Species.
Marie Curie – Pioneering Scientist (TV14; 1:48) In 1903 Marie Curie became the first girl to win a Nobel prize, paving the way for future women in the area of science.
Marie Curie – Miniature Biography (TVPG; 3:04) Marie Curie’s work on radioactivity made her the first girl to win a Nobel Prize. Curie’s works resulted in the discovery of polonium and radium and the development of X rays.
Jane Goodall – Miniature Biography (TV14; 3:11) A brief biography of Jane Goodall who made it her lifelong quest to educate the world about chimpanzees. Goodall founded the Jane Goodall Institute to aid Africans in poverty and animal conservation.