Google honors British archaeologist and anthropologist Mary Leakey with a doodle depicting her in an excavation site. Along with her are two dalmatians, as she was known for having her pets on site during her digs. On the foreground are footprints which perhaps represent the Laetoli footprints – to which she is known to have been the discoverer. Behind, the letters G, l and e are clearly seen to resemble rock formations while Mary and her dogs replace o and g in the middle.
Born Mary Douglas Nicol on February 6, 1913, in London, she is related to many famous names in the field of science, antiquarian John Frere for one and also archaeologist Sheppard Frere. Not made for formal education and traditional schooling, Mary has been expelled not just once from the schools she once was registered. With the help of her supportive mother, Mary was able to go through rejections and finally get to attend lectures unregistered in archaeology and related subjects at University College London and the London Museum, where she studied under Mortimer Wheeler (wiki).
Mary enjoyed two things; drawing and archaeology – the first would be the groundwork for meeting her would be husband, Louis Leakey, himself an archaeologist and naturalist. Sharing the same interests and values: a love of freedom and dislike for rules, an egalitarian frame of mind extending even to animals, a desire for adventure, and a passion for archaeology – they raised their three sons in the same environment. The boys namely Jonathan, born in 1940, Richard, born in 1944, and Philip, born in 1949 received much of their early childhood care at various anthropological sites.
The family worked together in Olduvai Gorge, uncovering the tools and fossils of ancient hominines, uncovering the OH 7 among others. Mary also developed a system for classifying the stone tools found at Olduvai. Mary died on 9 December 1996 at the age of 83 known for her works as a paleoanthropologist, her contributions greatly recognized in the field.