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Paleoanthropologist Who Discovered New Human-Like Species To Speak at Perot Museum

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Mark Thiessen
/
National Geographic
A reconstruction of Homo naledi. Paleoartist John Gurche spent 700 hours recreating the head from bone scans.

Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, who discovered a new human-like species, is coming to Dallas. He’ll speak at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science Sept. 29. 

Tickets are on sale at the museum’s website.

Berger’s discovery was announced Thursday and is attracting worldwide attention. Perot Museum officials say at the moment the Perot appearance will be Berger's first U.S. public speaking engagement since the discovery was announced.

Age is a mystery

NPR reports on the discovery:

Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of an unusual human-like creature that lived long ago. Exactly how long ago is still a mystery — and that's not the only mystery surrounding this newfound species. The bones have a strange mix of primitive and modern features, and were found in an even stranger place — an almost inaccessible chamber deep inside a South African cave called Rising Star. "It is perhaps one of the best-known caves in all of South Africa," says Lee Berger, who studies human evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Into the cave

The Associated Press reports on the journey into the cave:

An almost complete mandible told the cavers that they had found something almost human. Their camera battery was dead, and so a week later they made their way through the cave again, and photographed their find. They sent the photographs to geologist Pedro Boshoff, who alerted paleontologist Lee Berger, who went onto become the lead paleontologist on the discovery of Homo naledi. It was only when the cavers saw Berger's excitement that they realized just how big their discovery was. At the press conference announcing the discovery of Homo naledi, a potential new member of the human family tree, Tucker was joined by other cavers who volunteered on the excavation for nearly two years. Berger called them "underground astronauts."

National Geographic coverage

Learn more about the discovery from National Geographic.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees keranews.org, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.