Mary Leakey (1913-1996) is considered one of the prominent paleoanthropologists of all time. She worked with her husband Louis, in earlier years of her historical work. She made various scientific discoveries that have shaped the understanding of human origin and evolution. The skull fossils discovered by Mary Leakey changed the manner by which other scientists thought about human evolution.
She managed to convince other scientists that Africa was the ideal location to find past human remains. Despite strong opposition from some parties, she supported the idea of Charles Darwin that human evolution began in Africa.
In the Great Rift Valley, East Africa, Mary Leaky made one of forerunner discoveries about human evolution. She discovered fossilized footprints that were about 20 yards or so. The foot prints gave an insight that human beings walked upright on two legs. Moreover, she also discovered a famous fossil, by the name Zinjanthropus boisei (Isaac, 1976). According to carbon dating, the fossil was estimated to have lived about 1.75 million years ago. That discovery was essential in changing the held opinion about human evolution timelines. The two discoveries made in the late 1950s played a bigger role in shaping the understanding about early human features and the times they existed.
Mary Leaky further cleared the notion that human evolution was like a tree with a single trunk that is ape like species at the base and human at the top. After her discoveries, it was evident that there were more complex associations, a tree with many more branches (Isaac, 1976).
Mary Leaky was good at drawing and she made drawings of stone artifacts and cave paintings she found during excavation which further offer more understanding of human evolution (Reader, 1990).
Mary Leakey in the course of her discoveries over time, she wrote many books and articles about the stone tool and multiple fossil discoveries she made. The literature has significantly propelled many to understand and appreciate the human evolution over time
Despite varied views over the classification of fossils, it is goes without saying the recording done by Mary Leaky has shaped the knowledge about human evolution.
Isaac, G. L. (1976). Human Origins: Louis Leakey and the East African Evidence . WA Benjamin Advanced Book Program .
Reader, J. (1990). Missing links: the hunt for earliest man. Penguin Group USA.