Lee Berger

On Thursday, June 16, an extraordinary group of individuals will be honored by the National Geographic Society at the 2016 Explorer Awards, presented by Rolex. Meave Leakey and Nainoa Thompson will receive the National Geographic Society’s oldest and most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal, for their outstanding contributions to scientific research, exploration and conservation. Leakey, a paleoanthropologist best known for……

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The discovery of a new species of human relative was announced today (Sept. 10) by the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University), the National Geographic Society and the South African Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation (DST/NRF). Besides shedding light on the origins and diversity of our genus, the new species, Homo naledi, appears to have intentionally deposited bodies of its dead in a remote cave……

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By John Hawks This week, a small targeted excavation is underway at Rising Star, involving some of the original core team of excavators — Marina Elliott and Becca Peixotto, and cavers Pedro Boschoff, Rick Hunter and Steven Tucker, along with key personnel Ashley Kruger, Justin Mukanku, Wayne Crichton, Peter Schmid and Lee Berger. Cavers descended…

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Paleoanthropologist and science blogger John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has just returned to South Africa with NG Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand and others to continue work on the hominin discoveries of the Rising Star caves. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHawks. By John Hawks It has been a long three…

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Unearthing more than 1200 early hominin fossil elements in November 2013, the Rising Star Expedition produced more material than one scientist or traditional paleoanthropological team could process in several years. That inspired project leader Lee Berger and his collaborators come up with a different way of handling this find. Believing that there are likely to…

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National Geographic Emerging Explorer Gregg Treinish founded Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, a nonprofit organization connecting outdoor adventurers with scientists in need of data from the field. He also organizes his own expeditions, contributing to research on wildlife-human interaction, fragmented habitats, and threatened species. In that spirit, his blog posts appear both here on Explorers Journal and in Beyond the Edge, the…

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By Elen Feuerriegel I submitted this photo to the Australian Archaeological Association photo competition in ‘Category B – Archaeological fieldwork or laboratory work in progress‘. While I was unable to attend the conference myself (I was busy cleaning fossils!), I was notified recently that I had been one of the winning entries. In this photo…

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After three weeks of deep-cave hominid fossil recovery, the Rising Star Expedition has wrapped on its final day of excavations. The caver/scientists known as “underground astronauts” will return Wednesday to complete the 3D scans of the entire fossil chamber, walls and all. They will be aided by the caving support team as they remove the…

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A member of Lee Berger’s exploration team who first located the hominid fossils in the Rising Star cave system and who now serves as indispensable guide and support for the scientists, Rick Hunter offers his reflections on standing sentry in the caverns, and on the long journey from daylight into the caves, through winding passages, a belly-crawl…

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Paleoanthropologist and science blogger John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the experts on site at the Rising Star Expedition, analyzing fossils, monitoring activity from the Command Center, and helping tell the story from the senior scientists’ perspective. For real-time updates follow him on Twitter @JohnHawks. By John Hawks Saturday we went over…

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As scientists work to identify and catalog the now more than 800 hominid fossils recovered on the Rising Star Expedition, they pull from a body of knowledge accumulated over decades in their field. An intimate knowledge not only of broad principles but of specific specimens around the world is their constant reference as each piece…

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By Elen Feuerriegel 20th November 2013 The day starts (officially) at 6am. I’m up a little earlier this morning. Crawl out of my sleeping bag and tent to the sight of Lee Berger bounding around. Lee is a Morning Person. Marina has been up since the predawn. Typically, she is the one who organises and…

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By John Hawks Monday, Nov. 18 — It’s a rare quiet morning here at Rising Star as we give the underground team the morning to tour Sterkfontein Caves, just a kilometer away (read about their day off). You might think that going into another cave wouldn’t be a break, but you get into Sterkfontein by…

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After a day off for a field trip to other Cradle of Humankind sites yesterday, this morning, the expedition is back on in full swing. “Batten hatches,” was the last item on the whiteboard at this morning’s briefing. Most days by 6:30am the sun is baking us already, but today by 5:30 clouds had rolled…

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