National Geographic : 1965 Feb
"Nothing out of the ordinary happened," she recalls. "A pride of lions used to sleep in a gully about 150 yards from our tent, but we didn't seem to disturb them, and they didn't mind us. Once they came strolling through the camp, and Jonathan was very excited. But then you always have lions in that part of the country." At Olorgasailie the Leakeys discovered the world's most important deposit of late hand axes. It happened one weekend in 1942. Louis had obtained a three-day Easter leave from his wartime duties with British military in telligence, and he and Mary spent the whole of it combing Olorgasailie. On Easter Satur day, just as Louis stumbled upon some ex posed axes, Mary called out from a point several hundred yards away. Louis answered, crying, "Mary, come here! I've found the site we want. There are hun dreds of them!" After a further exchange of shouts, Louis reluctantly abandoned his own find and hur ried over to Mary. The sight that met his eyes staggered him. There were not just hundreds of hand axes at Mary's site; the final tally came to more than 3,000. Tool Factory of Stone Age Man Today Olorgasailie, like Kariandusi, is a field museum (pages 202-3). Dr. Melville Bell Grosvenor, the National Geographic Society's President and Editor, recently visited it. "I'll never forget that incredible wealth of artifacts," he told me. "An elevated catwalk extends across the area-perhaps three times the size of an average room-and as I walked around it, I had the feeling that I was visiting a kind of Stone Age tool factory. One day, un counted centuries ago, the artisans had closed shop and moved away. But here, defying time, lay the products of their skill." Exciting as this find was, Mary's most sig nificant contributions to prehistory still stand as the uncovering of Zinjanthropusat Oldu vai in 1959 and the 1948 discovery of the skull of Proconsul at Rusinga. In the afternoon of our second full day at Olduvai, the Leakeys' two elder sons arrived in camp. Jonathan has carved out a career as a herpetologist; in fact, he makes his living collecting Africa's deadliest snakes, extracting poison from them, and selling it to laboratories in South Africa and elsewhere engaged in re search on antivenin (page 195). Richard now operates safaris out of Nai robi-but safaris with a difference. His clients use cameras, not high-powered rifles, and Wig of Greenery Disguises a Hunter in the Balbal Depression Submerged to his mouth in a rain-filled lake, Philip Leakey perfects his skill at a sport taught him by his father. Hoping to pass as a moss-covered stump, he wades stealthily toward a flock of floating ducks. When close enough, he will grab one by the legs. Such youthful pastimes schooled Louis Leakey in the patience his profession demands. Razor-sharp stone knife, chipped from chert, helped prehistoric Oldowans dress game. Dr. Leakey, using similar tools that he himself shapes, can skin and disjoint a sheep in 20 minutes. KODACHROMESBY DAVID S. BOYER (BELOW) AND WILLIAM CRAVES.BOTH NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICSTAFF (C)N.G.S.