Richard The Lionhearted

Grievously injured in a plane crash, famed fossil hunter Leakey still shows his spirit

Proper appreciation of Richard Leakey's career requires a course in ballistics. Since he brashly launched his first expedition in search of human fossils in 1964 at the age of 19, he has careered through the African landscape, colliding at different times with his parents and siblings, with rival scientists over the interpretation of discoveries, and with other conservationists over his adamant support of a ban on the ivory trade.

But these collisions were nothing compared with what happened last month in the rough country north of Nairobi. A single-engine Cessna that Leakey was piloting with four passengers aboard lost power and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!