Dr. Meave Leakey

Discovering our Ancestors in the Desert of Northern Kenya

March 21, 2016

Dr. Meave Leakey was born Meave Epps in 1942 in London. She attended the University of North Wales, where she earned joint honors in Zoology and Marine Zoology. In 1965, she began to pursue a Ph.D. in Zoology. That same year, she had her first contact with the Leakey family; she took a staff position at the Tigoni Primate Research Centre, which was administered by Dr. Louis Leakey. She completed her Ph.D. in 1968.

She worked at the National Museums of Kenya from 1969 until 2001 where she was head of the division of palaeontology for many years. She has carried out field research around Lake Turkana in northern Kenya since 1969. In March 2001, Dr. Leakey and her colleagues announced the discovery of a new genus and species of human ancestor, Kenyanthropus platyops, which shows that Australopithecus afarensis (best known from the skeleton dubbed “Lucy”), is not the only contender for human ancestry. Additionally, she found the earliest Australopithecus, plus numerous other key fossils that have changed our understanding of the diversity and evolution of hominins.

Dr. Leakey is currently a Research Professor at the University of Stony Brook in New York and is in charge of Plio-Pleistocene research for the Turkana Basin Institute in Kenya. She continues her research at Lake Turkana and is a Research Affiliate of the National Museums of Kenya.

To learn more about Dr. Leakey’s work please visit


Dr. Leakey will deliver her keynote address at Our African Origins conference at 7:00pm on March, 21 2015 at the Missouri Theater. 

“Discovering our Ancestors in the Desert of Northern Kenya”

The talk will discuss some of the major discoveries made over many years of paleontological exploration of the Turkana Basin in northern Kenya and will show how these fossils have shaped our current understanding of our past. It will also highlight several major finds from elsewhere in the African Rift Valley that have also been key to our current understanding of our evolutionary story.

For complete details about Our African Origins Symposium, please visit http// You will find a description of the conference, agenda, presentation details as well as contact information. Please Note that you will need to pick up FREE tickets, starting March 1st at MSA/GPC Box Office in the Student Center, or on Ticketmaster for Dr. Leakey’s presentation and separately register for program on March 22nd.

Save the Date Our Africans Origins Symposium