Friday, August 12, 2022

Kamoya Kimeu (1940-2022)

 Kamoya Kimeu apparently died in late July, although I only came across any news of it today. He's one of the interesting scientific giants of our time. Born in Makueni County, Kenya, he never had more than a sixth-grade level of education, but in the 1960s he started working for the Leakeys, doing various labor jobs. The boy was brilliant, however, with an excellent sense of how to organize things and extraordinary pattern recognition -- a key skill in any paleontological field -- and the Leakeys began giving him more and more responsibility. He became so good at fossil-hunting that he would often make new and interesting fossil discoveries just by going someplace and walking around. It was not always easy, of course; he often had to deal with inclement weather and roving bandits, but the list of scientifically important fossils that he discovered in his long career is very long. His most famous find was Turkana Boy, a homo erectus skeleton that is still the most intact skeleton of an ancient hominid ever discovered.

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