Human Evolution through the Eyes of Dr. H. B. S. (Basil) Cooke

Louis Leakey (upper left) at an excavation site at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania (2009.022.149). Photo by Dr. H.B.S. Cooke.

Dr. Herbert Basil Sutton Cooke (1915-2018) was a very prominent geologist and palaeontologist who sought to shed light on human evolution. Dr. Cooke, who spent his retirement in White Rock, BC, donated his extensive image collection of archaeological sites and finds to the SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in 2009. This exhibit explores his journey through Africa as he documents important milestones in the discovery of the extinct hominins (fossil species that are more closely related to us than they are to our closest living relatives, the chimpanzee and bonobo).

Louis and Mary Leakey

Olduvai Gorge

Hadar: Important Finds From Ethiopia 


Omo Region, Ethopia

Further Reading

Avery, Margaret D.

    2018    H. Basil S. Cooke, FRSSAf (1015-2018). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 73 (2): 214-214.

Brain, C.K.

    2010    Basil Cooke’s Contributions to our Understanding of South African Cave Deposits and Fossil Fauna. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 61 (2): 33-34.

Cooke, H. B. S., C. Van Riet and L. H. Wells

    1941    Geology and Early Man. Nature 147: 45-49.

Dominguez-Rodrigo, Manuel and Bienvenido Martinez-Navarro

    2012    Taphonomic Analysis of the Early Pleistocene (2.4 Ma) Faunal Assemblage from A. L. 894 (Hadar, Ethiopia). Journal of Human Evolution 62 (3): 315-327.

Gaur, Rajan

    2015    Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey: The First Family of Paleoanthropology. Resonance 20 (8): 667-679.

Goldman-Neuman, Talia and Erella Hovers

    2012    Raw Material Selectivity in Late Pliocene Oldowan Sites in the Makaamitalu Basin, Hadar, Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution 62 (3): 353-366.

Howell, Clark

    1968    Omo Research Expedition. Nature 219: 567-572.

Kimbel, William H. and Lucas K. Delezene

    2009    “Lucy” Redux: A Review of Research on Australopithecus afarensis. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 52: 2-48.

Leakey, R. E. F.

    1969    Early Homo sapiens Remains from the Omo River Region of South-West Ethiopia: Faunal Remains from the Omo Valley. Nature 222: 1132-1133.

Shea, John J.

    2008    The Middle Stone Age Archaeology of the Lower Omo Valley Kibish Formation: Excavations, Lithic Assemblages, and Inferred Patterns of Early Homo sapiens   behaviour. Journal of Human Evolution 55 (3): 448-85.

Silberman, Neil Asher (editor)

    2012    The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Oxford University Press, Oxfordshire.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

    2018    What Does it Mean to be Human? Electronic document,, accessed 25 November, 2019.

© 2021 SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, created by Megan Fisher. Photographs courtesy of Dr. Basil Cooke.