Anthropology/ Paleontology

Jane Goodall, Mary Leaky, and Raymond Dart

Anthropology and Paleontology

Anthropology is the study of humans and their cultures and societies(1), while paleontology is the study of fossils and prehistoric life(2). A paleontologist may study fossils that range from something as tiny as bacteria to something huge, like the giant dinosaurs that roamed the Earth(3). An anthropologist will try to solve big human problems, such as overpopulation, warfare, and poverty(4).


Jane Goodall

  • Personal bio: Jane Goodall was very interested in animals from a young age. Born on April 3, 1934, in London, England, to a businessman and her mother who wrote novels under a penned name, . she spent most of her leisure time observing birds and animals and taking extensive notes and sketches, as well as reading books on zoology and ethology. She attended the Uplands private school and received her diploma in 1950, getting a higher certificate in 1952. At age 18 she quit school and got a job as a secretary at Oxford(8).
  • Scientific bio: In July, 1960, Jane Goodall traveled from Great Britain to Tanzania to study wild chimpanzees at the age of 26. As a child, she wanted to go to Africa after reading The Story of Doctor Dolittle. In May, 1956, Jane was introduced by her friend Clo Mange to Kenya's wilderness. She there met paleontologist and anthropologist Dr. Louis S. B. Leakey who hired her as an assistant and secretary, and from thenceforth helped Dr. Leakey and his wife dig up fossils. He asked her to go study wild chimpanzees in Tanzania, to which she agreed, and landed in East Africa in the summer of 1960 (9). Jane, though lots of patience and optimism, won the trust of the chimps, and by doing so opened a window into their lives. Today, the Jane Goodall Institute helps to protect the famous chimps of Grombe Natl. Park in Tanzania and believes in acting on behalf of endangered species.
  • Jane Goodall is an anthropologist/paleontologist because she worked to study the relationship between chimps and humans and used fossils to do so and to learn more about evolution and both species(10).

Mary Leaky

  • Personal Bio- Mary Leakey was born Feb 6, 1913, in London, the daughter of a talented artist. She was a very talented artist also, and shae applied her artistry at a dig in England at age 17. She married Dr. Louis Leakey and they formed a husband-wife team.
  • Scientific bio- In 1960, while working with her husband and Jane Goodall, they discovered a skull fossil of a human ancestor while excavating a gorge in Africa(11)
  • Mary Leakey is an anthropologist and paleontologist because she digs for fossils and tries to see how the relate to human history.

Raymond Dart

  • Personal Bio- Born on feb. 4, 1893 in Toowong, Brisbane, Australia, Raymond Dart attended university in Queensland and Sydney, pursuing further education at the University of London in 1920 under anatomists Grafton Elliot Smith and Arthur Keith. He was 5th of 9 children to parents who lived on a bush-farm raising cattle. After graduating from Sydney, he went to England to serve in a WWI Medical corps. In 1922, he became an anatomy professor at new University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa(12&13)
  • Scientific Bio- In November, 1924, He was handed a fossil skull, found 100 miles N of Kimberly. He found the skull was a child with a mix of apish and human features. He thought it was the missing link between humans and apes and named the species Australopithecus africanus(14)
  • Dart was an Anthropologist and Paleontologist because he studied fossils and studied human evolution, trying to find the connection between humans and apes.