Lee Berger - The Mystery of our Human Story

The Mystery of our Human Story

  • Lee Berger, Paleoanthropologist

It is no exaggeration to say that paleoanthropologist Lee Berger’s 2013 discovery of Homo naledi signaled a profound shift in our understanding of human evolution. In a secret chamber of the remote Rising Star cave system near Johannesburg, South Africa, a massive collection of bones was discovered by his explorers assisted by recreational cavers. So he rapidly assembled a team of “underground astronauts” with caving experience, scientific backgrounds, and the kind of physique that could fit in a chute averaging 7.9 inches in width. What they found suggested something unprecedented—ritual burial, a practice long thought to be unique to Homo sapiens. And that was just the beginning.

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About the speaker
Lee Berger, Paleoanthropologist

Paleoanthropologist Lee R. Berger has unearthed what are arguably the most important human ancestral discoveries in the last half century, including the fossils of two new species of human relatives.

Speaker Highlights
In 2008, Berger discovered fossils of a new human ancestor, Australopithecus Sediba
In 2013, he discovered the fossils of an unprecedented 15 individuals of a new species, Homo naledi
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
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