Mary Leakey hits pay-dirt with Nutcracker Man

in science •  5 months ago

Archaeologists are a bit like treasure hunters, at least they were in the early days and colloquial terms like "fossil hunters" and "fossil hounds" are apt descriptions.

Just like treasure hunters they had to convince some rich benefactor to fund their expeditions in the hopes of finding something extraordinary.

The Leakey's had secured such funding from Charles Boise after the success with the Proconsul skull and they were assured of funds for yearly small expeditions at Olduwai gorge. 7 years later and nothing much to show in bone and only 2 teeth, from a human ancestry point of view, those funds were running low and now in danger of being withdrawn completely.

Getting a little desperate they shifted focus from Bed II to Bed I and almost instantly found a hominid tooth. Louis arranged extra cash to fund an extension and drum up some publicity and filming of the excavation of the teeth. While waiting for the filming crew they explored other areas where Bed I was exposed.

On one morning the scheduled exploration was canceled because Louis had a fever. Mary took her dogs to another section close by instead and then hit proverbial paydirt.

Australophithecus boisei (cast), Olduvai Gorge - Springfield Science Museum - Springfield, MA - DSC03368.JPG
By Daderot , CC0, Link

She found what appeared to be hominid teeth sticking out of the soil at an angle that showed them to still be attached to a palate.

The palate turned out to be most of a skull and a jaw for the same species would be found a couple of years later.

The species was named Zinjanthropus boisei. Boise being none other than the name of the Leakey's benefactor. The treasure hunt was a success and he had his possible human ancestor bearing his name.

Paranthropus boisei skull.jpg
By Durova, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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What a great find. Such luck to find this skull just at the time they needed it most. 🐓🐓

Very strong teeth,
Dentists should study it.


didn't have chocolates


Thank you very much for your upvote,
And it is very valuable to me

Very cool post! When I was a kid I dreamed of being an archeologist (probably influenced by Indiana Jones haha) I'm a new follower of your blog, are you an archeologist?

  • Iris

That is one scary creature @gavvet. Did they look somewhat like humans?

Their son Richard Leakey dug both skulls a decade later. He thinks skull owners have been the earliest users of oldowan tools, which are found in the same area. However, the coexistence of fossil homo with tools and skull paranthropus calling the idea was questionable. Many of the other fossil animal mammals excavated with paranthropus fossils have evidence of a meat shop on their bones. The newly found bones suggest those owners also meet the final violence.


Thank you for your lesson

OMG!! this is amazing.

yes this could be an ingredient for history lessons at school, good post

OMG that's very impressive.nice post once again.\


Mary Leaki Nutcracker means I understand that you have a good relationship with someone else, you please check my profile.

creative mind
keep it up

the archaeological world never stops knowing, archaeologists keep trying to unravel the unsolved mysteries of the past, keep doing research to reveal unsolved mysteries, success always

Something new for me, i'm also a student of science and my concentration was physics! thanks for your post!

Our history burried down is waiting to be unearth.

Evoulution and Bible can coexist. We will always find new man alike creatures. There is so many mutations even now. Monkey 1, monkey 2 and on and on


Yes, in my perception archaeologists are also associated with treasure hunters. This is a very interesting profession, full of travel, adventure and incredible finds. Such rare things, sensations and discoveries this is nothing more than a real treasure!

OMG this is very long year ago maybe. this is amazing

Looks like he has the same basic skull and jaw shape as mine does. I thought I was the only one!

I'm really liking this series on the Leaky clan, and REALLY like how you are making it a mystery tale even though I know the story!

Thank you!

Thats interesting. Archaeologists found different skulls in different shapes, what make us really think deep about it. Were they all humans or different other races!

Archeology is a beautiful thing to study. Zinjanthropus boisei is one of the largest species of Paranthropus. Nice Mr. @gavvet

man herd

What impressive images, friend, it's amazing how those relics are still preserved

i dont know these are human or othere animals head skalton.... it is sure they are vegeteriyan... it ensure seeing there teeth

awesome photography,,,
Charles Darwin's Doctrine is so nice for the evolution,,
1st pic has some change to the 2nd pic,,,
That's the reality,,changing is a natural effect too..
Thanks for sharing,,@upvoted

Congratulations @gavvet!
Your post was mentioned in the Steemit Hit Parade in the following category:

  • Upvotes - Ranked 6 with 762 upvotes

Hello. When I was studying at an art university, I had sculpture lessons. We restored the person's face on the skull. It's interesting to know exactly how the person looked, who does not exist for a long time.
Are you interested in paleontology? is it a profession or passion? I'm an artist and I love traveling, I'm blogging about it thith Steemit.

The skull looks a little bit bigger than the norms

Nice poat@gavvet , steem your way to glory !

This skull is massive :o

Fantastic photography
interesting post once again thanks for sharing your knowledge :)

Strange looking, a humanoid, maybe an entirely different species or somethings else entirely. Teeth are similar.