Lee Rogers Berger is a known paleoanthropologist that has dedicated part of his career to making major fossil discoveries. His best known finds include Australopithecus sediba, an ancient human relative discovered in 2008 in South Africa, and Homo naledi, a fossil hominin species announced in 2015. Berger’s discoveries are notable not just for their scientific value but also for his efforts to make them open access projects, freely sharing data and fossils with researchers. In addition to his research, Berger has received numerous awards for his work including the first National Geographic Society Prize for Research and Exploration in 1997. Berger has lived and worked in South Africa since 1989 where he continues to research human origins at the University of the Witwatersrand.
About Lee Berger
- Lee Rogers Berger is an American-born South African paleoanthropologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.
- He is best known for his discovery of the Australopithecus sediba type site, Malapa; his leadership of Rising Star Expedition in the excavation of Homo naledi at Rising Star Cave; and the Taung Bird of Prey Hypothesis.
- Berger was born in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, United States, on December 22, 1965.
- He received his B.A. in anthropology from Georgia Southern University in 1989, and his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1994.
- Berger has conducted research on human evolution in Africa, Asia, and Micronesia. He is the author of several books, including The Handbook of Paleoanthropology (2005) and Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo Naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Understanding of Human Evolution (2017).
- Berger is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been awarded the National Geographic Society Prize for Research and Exploration, the Golden Plate Award of the Academy of Achievement, and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
- Berger is a passionate advocate for public engagement in science. He is the host of the National Geographic Explorer television series Lost Cities, and he has written for popular magazines such as National Geographic, Scientific American, and The New York Times.
Berger is a known figure in the field of paleoanthropology. He is a gifted communicator and educator.
He is the protagonist of the Netflix documentary, Unknown: Cave of Bones (2023).