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Prof Lee Berger

 

 


BA (Georgia Southern University); PhD (Witwatersrand)
011 717 6664
lee.berger@wits.ac.za
 
Prof Lee R. Berger Ph.D. D.Sc. FRSSAfASSAf is an award-winning researcher, explorer, author, palaeoanthropologist and speaker. 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 ogas a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and the South African Academy of Sciences and prominent advisory positions including the Chairmanship of the Fulbright Commission of South Africa, the Senior Advisory  Board  of  the  Global  Young  Academy  and  the Centre  of  Excellence  in PalaeoSciences of South Africa among many others. He is a South African Ambassador for Tourism, Conventions and Business Events. He has been awarded several humanitarian awards  including  the  Boy  Scout  Medal  of  Honor  for  saving  a  life  and  the  Red  Cross Certificate of Merit. In addition his efforts in conservation have been recognized by the William T. Hornaday Award and Georgia’s Youth Conservationist of the Year.

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. His  contributions  to  exploration  sciences  have  also resulted  in advances  in the field of applied exploration methods and the  application of technology to exploration, excavation and discovery. He is the author of more than two hundred scholarly and popular works including more than 100 refereed  papers  and  a  number of  academic  and  popular  books on  palaeontology, natural history, and exploration. His work has been featured three times on the cover of Science, and has been named the top 100 science stories of the year by Time, Scientific American  and  Discover  Magazine  on  numerous  occasions. He  has  appeared  in  many television  documentaries  on  subjects  related  to  archaeology,  palaeoanthropology  and natural history.  

He has founded the not for profit Lee R. Berger Foundation for Exploration and was a founder of the Palaeoanthropological Scientific Trust and a founding Trustee of the Jane Goodall  Society  of South  Africa.  He is  Director  of  one  of the  largest palaeontological projects, leading over 100 researchers in investigations of the Malapa site in South Africa as well as leading the Rising Star Expedition in 2013 resulting in the discovery of the largest primitive hominin assemblage in history.  He is an avid diver and adventurer and holds a PADI Divemaster certificate among many other specialties.  

Berger was born in Shawnee Mission, Kansas and grew up in rural Georgia. He was a member of Troop 341 of the Coastal Empire Council. He was awarded his Eagle Scout in 1983 achieving his silver and gold palms.  

Berger  is  presently  the  Research  Professor  in  Human  Evolution  and  the  Public Understanding  of Science  at the University of the  Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and an Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society. He holds a PhD in palaeoanthropology and a Doctor of Science in the same field.

 

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