Natural History Museum of Utah

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Secrets in the Sands: Revelations into How we Became Human

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 7:00pm
The Natural History Museum of Utah | Rio Tinto Center

Nature of Things Lecture featuring

Louise Leakey
Koobi Fora Research Project, Kenya

Location: The Rio Tinto Center, 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City
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Free Event -- Advance reservations are NOW FULL
Patrons with advance reservations must be in their seats by 6:45 p.m.

Listen to the Lecture Live on KCPW 88.3 FM

The question of human origins touches the deepest roots of our curiosity.  Over six decades and three generations, the Leakey family has been piecing together the puzzle of our earliest history in Africa.  Join Louise Leakey, the youngest of the Leakey fossil hunters, for an exploration of the human journey over the past four million years.

Dr. Leakey will describe several pivotal discoveries that shape our understanding of our complex family tree, including three new fossils announced by her team in 2012 indicating two additional species of our genus –Homo – lived alongside our direct ancestors almost two million years ago.  Looking ahead, she will examine the questions paleoanthropologists still hope to answer and how new technology might assist them in finding answers more quickly.

Louise Leakey continues the Leakey family legacy in the field of paleoanthropology through ongoing research in the Turkana Basin of northern Kenya. She co-directs the Koobi Fora Research Project with her mother, Dr. Meave Leakey. Her research focuses on the period between 2 and 1.5 million years ago when the hominid fossil record shows considerable diversity in species and morphology. As an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Stony Brook in New York, Dr. Leakey is helping to develop a major center for human origins research that will include field programs for students. Dr. Leakey is a Ph.D. graduate of London University, where her research focused on the influence of climate change 3.5 to 1.5 million years ago in the fossil deposits of the Turkana Basin.

Complete Nature of Things 2013 Series Information

Questions about Nature of Things? Email us


Nature of Things Founding Underwriter:  R. Harold Burton Foundation

Presenting Partner:  JPMorgan Chase

Gold Sponsor: Rio Tinto | Kennecott Utah Copper

Silver Sponsor: Clark Foundation

Bronze Sponsor: Myriad Genetics

Media Partner: KCPW -- All lectures broadcasted live at KCPW 88.3FM

In-Kind Sponsors: Liberty Heights Fresh, Pinon Market & Cafe

Additional support from Kingsbury Hall, The City Library and the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks Fund


About this Sold-Out Nature of Things Lecture

Reservations for the Nature of Things lecture with Dr. Louise Leakey are full. An onsite standby line will be available for a limited amount of seating on the evening of the event.

For Patrons with Reservations:

At 6:15 p.m. the Main Entrance doors will be opened to all patrons showing a copy of their email reservation confirmation.  All patrons with reservations (with all members of their party) must be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. Anyone with a reservation but arriving after 6:45 pm will need to join the onsite standby line.

For Patrons without Reservations:

An onsite standby line will be available starting at 6:00 pm at the Museum’s Group Entrance on Level 2 (the north side of the building). All available seats as of 6:45 pm will be released to patrons in the standby line on a “first-come, first-served” basis as seats are available.

Please Note:
  • Due to the KCPW 88.3 FM live radio broadcast, the event will begin sharply at 7:00 p.m.  Those not admitted to the event by 7:00 pm will need to leave the building, whether they have a reservation or not.
  • The Museum will close to the public at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 21.  Museum patrons, with or without Nature of Things lecture reservations, will not be able to wait for the evening event inside the building.  Everyone will be asked to leave the building so that set-up can occur.
  • Dr. Leakey's presentation, Secrets in the Sands: Revelations into how we became human, will be broadcast live on KCPW 88.3 FM.