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Mary Leakey 100th birthday: A son on her adventuresome parenting

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However, as the mother of four boys, I think she pretty much wrote the book on how to best raise boys to be remarkable men. Philip Leakey says he was glad to have the rare opportunity to talk about his mother as a mother and not a scientist.

Mary Leakey’s appears to be a parenting technique that worked wonders for all three of her sons. Philip’s eldest brother Jonathan is a businessman and former palaeoanthropologist who runs Jonathan Leakey Ltd., which supplies East African snake venoms and plants for antivenom manufacturers. Richard Leakey became a politician, paleoanthropologist, and conservationist after entering the family business of paleoanthropology not only in field research and discoveries, but also as the director of the National Museums of Kenya (NMK). He is now a member of the department of anthropology faculty at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Philip Leakey and his wife Katy run what might be called a Zulugrass-roots endeavor called The Leakey Collection, a Fair Trade design company based in Kenya. It sells items such as jewelry made by East African women (in their homes, not factories). They cut Zulugrass – which is hollow – into beads that are dyed and hardened. The company states that it “uses commerce as a vehicle to enhance the lives of the Maasai in an environmentally friendly, sustainable way while maintaining cultural and traditional lifestyles".

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