Richard Leakey

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Richard Leakey is a famous and influential paleoanthropologist and conservationist. He is the son of equally famous archaeologists Louis and Mary Leakey. A member of Leakey’s team discovered the homo erectus (or sometimes identified as homo ergaster) skeleton KNM-WT 15000, or more commonly known as Turkana Boy. He speaks regularly at University lectures and anthropological conferences. 

In other words, if you are considering a career in anthropology or if you enjoy studying it as a hobby Richard Leakey is basically Jesus.

Dedicated to anon who did not know of the Leakeys.

An evolutionary perspective of our place in the history of the earth reminds us that Homo sapiens have occupied the planet for the tiniest fraction of that planet’s four and a half thousand million years of existence. In many ways we are a biological accident, the product of countless propitious circumstances. As we peer back through the fossil record, through layer upon layer of long-extinct species, many of which thrived far longer than the human species is ever likely to do, we are reminded of our mortality as a species. There is no law that declares the human animal to be different, as seen in this broad biological perspective, from any other animal. There is no law that declares the human species to be immortal.
—  Richard E. Leakey
Denver Museum to Return Totems to Kenyan Museum

The paleontologist Richard Leakey has called their removal a “sacrilege.” Kenyan villagers have said their theft led to crop failure and ailing livestock. It is little wonder, then, that the long, slender wooden East African memorial totems known as vigango are creating a spiritual crisis of sorts for American museums. Many want to return them, but are not finding that so easy.

Now, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science says it has devised a way to return the 30 vigango it received as donations in 1990 from two Hollywood collectors, the actor Gene Hackman and the film producer Art Linson. The approach, museum officials say, balances the institution’s need to safeguard its collection and meet its fiduciary duties to benefactors and the public with the growing imperative to give sanctified objects back to tribal people. Read more.