Kamoya Kimeu one of the world greatest fossil collector.


There is probably no greater recognition than to have fossils named after you. Two fossil primates have been given this honor: Kamoyapithecus hamiltoni and Cercopithecoides kimeui.
Today, it is still relatively rare to find paleontologists who live in the field. Of course, Louis and Mary Leakey were examples of two people who introduced Kimeu to this life, and now Meave and Louise Leakey carry on that tradition.

The Leakey Foundation | Fossil Finders: Kamoya Kimeu
Kamoya Kimeu (right), partner of Richard Leakey (left) for two decades, turns up facial bones of a fossil Homo erectus under a thorn tree on the western shore of Kenya’s Lake Turkana. Photo by David L. Brill 1985, National Geographic Society, From The Leakey Foundation Archive

Kamoya Kimeu, is one of the world’s most successful fossil collectors who, together with paleontologists Meave Leakey and Richard Leakey, is responsible for some of the most significant paleoanthropological discoveries. Kimeu found a Homo habilis skull known as KNM-ER 1813, an almost complete Homo erectus skeleton named KNM-WT 15000 or Turkana Boy (also known as Nariokotome boy), and in 1964 the jaw of a Paranthropus boisei skull known as the Peninj Mandible. 

Museum director Richard Leakey with Kenyan National Museum representative Kamoya  Kimeu held a skull, 1.6 million years old found in Kenya. SCAN-TT-01260628  - IMS Vintage Photos

Kimeu began to work in paleoanthropology as a laborer for Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey in the 1950s. In 1963, he joined with Richard Leakey’s expeditions, accompanying him to the Omo River and Lake Rudolf (now Lake Turkana) in 1967. He quickly became Richard Leakey’s right-hand man, assuming control of field operations in Leakey’s absence. In 1977 he became the National Museums of Kenya’s curator for all prehistoric sites in Kenya. Kimeu was presented the National Geographic Society’s LaGorce Medal by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan in a ceremony at the White House

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