Physical Anthropology

Zinjanthropus Tools Pre Human Hominids Ansesters Evolution

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Mary Douglas Nicol Leakey was born in Great Britain. Her father was a painter and so her family moved quite often. In 1926, Mary's father died and it affected her deeply. She was repeatedly expelled from school and so her mother put her in a convent. It was thanks to Mary's father that she'd been introduced to Archeology. She would eventually seek it as a career.

Mary would attend lectures on the subject of Archeology and she repeatedly and consistently wrote letters to Archeologists begging them to allow her to attend digs with them. Mary finally did get to a dig. She did some sketches and illustrations for a publication called, The Desert Fayoum. One of the doctors she worked with, a certain Dr. Canton-Thompson decided she'd make a good mate for another doctor named Louis Leakey. Thus Mary gained the Leakey name.

Mary earned her first Honorary Degree from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Yale, Oxford and Chicago would also honor her in kind.

Mary and Louis made a great pair. They not only worked hard, they were recognized for their achievements many times. National Geographic bestowed the Gold Hubbard Medal upon the inspired couple.

It was in 1959, the year I was born, that Mary Leakey, at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania discovered Zinjanthropus boisei, OH5. Also known as Paranthropus boisei. In the genus, Australopithicus boisei. It was Louis Leakey who suggested that Zinjanthropus was a human ancestor. In fact, it is said, that the discovery of Zinjanthropus boiseit caused many to seriously consider man's more intimate connection to apes.

Olduvai Hominid 5 had high set eyes that were set close together and a long face. As well, its cranium was ridged at the top. He was an upright walker. It is estimated that the hominid lived 2.2 million to 1.8 million years ago. OH5 was found with stone tools, indicating a more intelligent form of hominid, with an arched foot, who ate fruits, seeds and other fibrous material.

OH5, according to dental evidence was a vegetarian with unusually large teeth and ceased to evolve. That is, it is not believed that man descended directly from this "southern ape". Possibly there was a sexual dimorphism within this breed. Indicating the male may have had a physical characteristic attractive to the female and used in displays of courtship and possibly lowered the need to seriously compete for a female. This would also alleviate the male need to hunt 'em down.

"Cause women go crazy for a sharp dressed man..." -ZZ Top

Sources: www.mnsu.ed

More about this author: G E Barr

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