Louise Leakey

From her first visit to the Turkana Basin when she was just weeks old, to her most publicized one (on March 19, 2001 when she and a group of scientists led by her mother Dr. Meave Leakey unearthed the skull of Kenyanthropus platyops), Louise Leakey has been a part of the annual expeditions to the field. As the youngest of Leakey fossil-hunters, Louise has been true to her family legacy with her adventurous spirit, ambitious research, and unwavering focus on the advancement of science and our understanding of human origins and evolution.

Louise recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of London, and now heads the Koobi Fora Research Project. With her characteristic vigour she is currently working to transform the Koobi Fora Research Camp into a year-round research station on the shores of Lake Turkana. She and her team hope to produce dramatic new finds in the coming years. Like her parents, Richard and Meave Leakey, and her grandparents, the pre-eminent Louis and Mary Leakey, Louise focuses her study on the evolution of early human ancestors. Particularly interesting to her is the period between 2 million years ago and 1.5 mya. At this time, the hominid fossil record shows considerable diversity in species and morphology. Many questions still beg to be answered, especially with regards to the origins of Homo, our own genus.

Through a rigorous process of searching, excavation, paleoecological and geological analysis, and a little bit of paleoanthropological intuition, Louise, along with Meave, has precisely pinpointed regions within the 1200 square kilometre area of East Turkana that will most likely produce the answers to questions raised about this critical period in human evolution.