Why Famous: Discovered the earliest (3.6 million year old) human footprints at Laetoli, Tanzania.
Her fossil and archaeological discoveries at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania provide evidence for human evolution in Africa and include the discovery of the extinct human species Homo Habilis and Zinjanthropus boisei (now Paranthropus Boisei).
- 1948-10-06 Paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey finds the first partial fossil skull of Proconsul africanus, an ancestor of apes and humans on Rusinga Island, Kenya
- 1959-07-17 Paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey discovers partial skull of a new species of early human ancestor, Zinjanthropus boisei or 'Zinj' (now called Paranthropus boisei) lived in Africa almost 2 million years ago
- 1960-11-04 Mary Leakey and Louis Leakey discover first Homo habilis jaw fragments (OH 7) at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania