Lee Berger: the Donald Johanson of the 21st century?

Back in the 1970s, Donald Johanson famously discovered Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis). And this past week, Lee Berger announced the discovery of what may prove to be an even more dramatic hominid find, a creature that he has dubbed Australopithecus sediba.

I can’t, for the life of me, understand why this isn’t getting larger cultural play. The back story is compelling (Berger’s 9-year-old son stumbled on the fossil find), and so it has a Dead Sea Scrolls accidental find quality to it. And it is as visually close to a “missing link” between apes and humans as you are ever likely to find: it has the long arms of an orangutan and the long legs and broad pelvis of a bipedal human. If you want to offer the general public an example of evolution in action, this seems like a good species to point to.

So where’s the sustained media attention? Maybe it will build over the course of the year, but for now watch the two videos below of Lee Berger announcing the discovery. As I write this, these two videos have only received a combined total of 491 YouTube hits. In other words, we’re obviously very far from Lady Gaga hit territory—but how much more compelling this is!

Seriously. Watch both of these videos. They’re absolutely amazing:


About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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