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OriginsThe Search for Our Prehistoric Past$
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Frank H. T. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702440

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702440.001.0001

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The Leakeys’ Legacy

The Leakeys’ Legacy

(p.205) 14 The Leakeys’ Legacy

Frank H. T. Rhodes

Cornell University Press

This chapter explains how the partnership of Louis and Mary Leakey was of major importance in establishing the African origin and early evolution of prehistoric human populations. It then goes on to discuss early human history in general, and delves into the fossil evidence regarding our early human ancestors—from the early primates to Mary Leakey's discovery of fossil footprints made 3.6 million years ago—in an attempt to puzzle out the question of human ancestry and the origin of human and prehuman australopithecine species. But the chapter also looks further back, to the origin of the larger group of hominoids—the great apes and the lesser apes—with which we share so many features.

Keywords:   early human history, Louis Leakey, Mary Leakey, prehistoric human population, African origin, hominoids, great apes, lesser apes, primates

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