In this episode of the Seven Ages Audio Journal, the team discusses the latest news out of China concerning recently discovered remains of a possible third human lineage. Next, the team discusses the upcoming Arkhaios Film Festival for cultural heritage and archaeology.
The Seven Ages team is happy to welcome the world-renowned paleoanthropologist Dr. Lee Berger to the show for his first appearance. Dr. Berger joins us to discuss his new book Cave of Bones: A True Story of Discovery, Adventure, and Human Origins. We also go in-depth on the new Netflix documentary Unknown: Cave of Bones.
Lee Berger is an award-winning paleoanthropologist whose explorations into human origins on the African continent, Asia, and Micronesia for the past three decades have resulted in many new discoveries, including the discovery of two new species of early human relatives – Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi. These discoveries were recognized by the Smithsonian as among the ten most important scientific discoveries of the decade in 2020. A current National Geographic Explorer in Residence, Berger won the first National Geographic Society Research and Exploration Prize in 1997. He was also named the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year in 2016 and two years later, became an Explorer at Large. In 2016 he was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Berger has held positions at the University of the Witwatersrand, in South Africa since 1991, where until recently he served as the Phillip Tobias Chair in Human Evolution. He has also served in a number of advisory roles, including the Global Young Academy, the Jane Goodall Institute South Africa, and has chaired the Fulbright Commission. As an Explorer in Residence, Berger leads National Geographic’s “Rising Star” project, named for the cave system and fossil site in southern Africa where he conducts his research. Teams under his leadership have recovered more individual hominid remains in sub-equatorial Africa over the last decade than were recovered in the previous 90 years. The 2015 PBS Nova National Geographic documentary “Dawn of Humanity” about Berger’s discovery of Homo naledi and the Rising Star expedition was nominated for an Emmy. Berger’s curiosity and passion for understanding the roots of humanity powers his work to advance knowledge about the origins of our species.
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Jason Pentrail is a writer, researcher, and podcaster who holds an undergraduate degree in environmental science and a graduate degree in environmental management. His environmental knowledge combined with a love for archaeology, anthropology, and cultural studies provides a unique set of skills when researching and conducting field surveys and excavations. He can be reached at email@example.com.