Professor Lee Berger, an Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society gave the first public lecture on his latest findings about early hominins at the ECWG’s annual black tie dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday, Dec. 7. 2013.
Berger talked about the results of the recent Rising Star Expedition, which was rapidly assembled during October 2013 to recover ancient hominid fossils discovered deep in a South African cave. With remains from multiple individuals already identified, the find could add significantly to our understanding of human evolution, the scientists said. His report is expected to receive extensive news coverage when it is released.
Rising Star was the first open access, “live” palaeoanthropological expedition, followed by nearly 1 million people on the web. It has resulted in the discovery and recovery of one of the most extensive fossil hominin assemblages in history and promises to add significantly to our understanding of the origins of humankind, the researchers said.The past half-decade has witnessed perhaps the most remarkable period of discovery in the history of the search for human origins. A field known for evidence largely based upon fragments, has now seen the recovery of more complete remains including a number of partial skeletons added to the fossil record.
Berger is a Research Professor in Human Evolution and the Public Understanding of Science at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and Fellow of the Explorers Club. He is the recipient of the National Geographic Society’s first Prize for Research and Exploration and the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award. His work has brought him recognition as a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and membership in the Academy of Sciences of South Africa His explorations into human origins on the African continent, Asia and Micronesia for the past two and a half decades have resulted in many new discoveries, including the most complete early hominin fossils ever discovered that belong to a new species of early human ancestor –Australopithecus sediba.