The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi-as told by Dr. Lee Berger, Dr. Agustin Fuentes, and Dr. John Hawks-Into the Darkness of Rising Star

I had a wonderful time the other day with the Cambridge University Biological Anthropology Society when we hosted Professors Lee Berger, John Hawks, and Agustin Fuentes. I hope you learn so much just like I did and have a great time enjoying this debate amongst intellectual giants! 

From the President of CUBAS:

The Rising Star cave system presents an unparalleled skeletal record of a nonhuman hominin species in the time and place most archaeologists thought that modern humans evolved. This paradox raises many questions about the nature of this species and our own and

possible interactions. We have come together to examine our understanding of the human niche and to share some of the insights from our more recent work in this cave system that may lead to a greater sense of the place of Homo naledi within our more excellent knowledge of hominins, and human, evolution.

In the Endless Forms Seminar Series, Professors Lee Berger, John Hawks, and Agustin Fuentes pose

thought-provoking questions about paleoanthropology, Homo naledi, exploration, open science, and taxonomy each other, showing that colleagues aren’t always in agreement when it comes to theory. The professors then take the time to engage with the next generation of researchers.

The CamBioAnthSoc thanks you for your interest and support.”

Here I will make it simple and easy for anyone to understand what is being discussed. This way, anyone, regardless of background, can enjoy and learn from this fantastic opportunity. 

Once again, on behalf of the Cambridge University Biological Anthropology Society’s Committee, I would like to thank everyone who RSVPd, especially the esteemed professors, for giving us so much great information to digest. 

So let’s dig right in! 

This was not the regular lecture type that we would typically host; this was not a presentation but a debate between three massive brains in the field on the aspects surrounding a new mysterious species of Hominin, Homo naledi. We are joined by Dr. Lee Berger, the team leader in charge of everything naledi related. He was the team leader on the discovery and has made many more discoveries since surrounding this new hominin. There is so much to tell about Homo naledi to do it justice, and we would need an entire other section dedicated to them, which we may bring along at some point. But for now, I would refer you to other resources to learn the essential details and the fantastic discovery tale behind this new species. 

We are joined by Dr. John Hawks, who has been a second in command regarding the naledi expedition. But far more than that, Dr. Hawks is a biological anthropologist who knows and is well-known all over the field. It is rare to see a Human Origins documentary without him in it. He’s not all flash and hard work to back up. 

Finally but not least, we have Dr. Augustin Fuentes, who is a biological anthropologist but also a behavioralist and has done a tremendous amount of work with living primates. These three teams give us insights into who and what Homo naledi possibly was, but perhaps even more what naledi was not. 

The three of them go on to debate specific points. We learned a lot about the cranial morphology or the shape and size of the skull of this new species; we heard about what it means to be human and whether or not naledi was on or was close to that path. You may be surprised by what you hear. 

But mostly, there is a sense of upcoming excitement that you can tell is barely contained by Lee and his companions, something big is on the horizon that will change what it means to be Human all over again, and be sure we will be there to cover the news! 

Until next time! 

Seth Chai 

Published by sethchagi

I am a Paleoanthropology Student, so far with two degrees, in Anthropology and Human Behavioral Science, pursuing my B.A and then my PhD I love to read (like a lot) and write, I love my family, and I adore anthropology! Remember, never stop exploring and never stop learning! There is always more to learn!

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