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April 18, 2018

The Insight, episode 18: Lee Berger, H. naledi, and open science

Filed under: Lee Berger,Paleoanthropology,The Insight — Razib Khan @ 7:58 pm


On this week’s episode of The Insight (Stitcher and Google Play) we talk to Lee Berger, author of Almost Human and a  paleanthropological revolutionary. Or, less sensationally Lee tells us his view on the practice and results of science in his field (which is literally in the field).

Like most scientists, Lee is passionate about his work, but unlike many, he’s really good at talking about it. That’s an important skill going forward because science is usually funded by the public or private foundations.

Here is the original paper on Homo naledi, Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa. This small hominin had a brain 30% the size of our own, and lived until at least (and likely later) than 200,000 years ago in southern Africa. At some point they’ll get DNA out of naledi. Lee’s current opinion based on morphology seems to be that this is a highly basal lineage. That is, it separated from the one groups that led to anatomically modern humans 2 million years ago!

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