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Leading anthropologist Professor Lee Berger to give Kent's 2016 Stirling Lecture

University of Kent

The University of Kent's 2016 Stirling Lecture will be given by world renowned American-born South African paleoanthropologist Professor Lee Berger, University of Witwatersrand, on Tuesday 8 November.

Free and open to all, Professor Berger's lecture will address his discovery of two important new fossil human species: Australopithecus sediba (important for its combination of ape-like and human-like anatomy) in 2010; and Homo naledi (important for its combination of early human-like anatomy yet with evidence for deliberate disposal of its dead) that was just announced to the world last autumn.

He will also discuss how the excavation of these important fossils is changing our understanding of the human evolutionary story.

Kent's Dr Tracy Kivell and Dr Matthew Skinner were key members of the team that worked on the fossil remains of Homo naledi, discovered in a cave known as Rising Star in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, some 30 miles northwest of Johannesburg. The fossils lay in a chamber about 90 meters from the cave entrance, accessible only through a chute so narrow that a special team of very slender individuals was needed to retrieve them.

Professor Berger's discoveries resulted in him being named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in 2016 and a National Geographic Explorer in Residence.

Hosted by Kent's School of Anthropology and Conservation and titled Almost Human: recent discovery of two new fossil human species in South Africa, the lecture will begin at 18.30 in Keynes Lecture Theatre 1 on the University's Canterbury campus. Prior to this, from 17.30, there will be an opportunity to view fossil casts spanning human evolution. These will include some of Professor Berger's newest discoveries.

The annual Stirling Lecture, held in honour of Professor Paul Stirling, founding professor of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Kent, invites distinguished guests to discuss their research. For further information, please see


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