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Pleistocene Bovidae (Mammalia) from Malapa, Gauteng Province, South Africa

Juliet K. Brophy, Darryl J. de Ruiter, Mikael Fortelius, Marion Bamford, and Lee R. Berger

Plain Language Abstract

This paper provides information about the animals in the Family Bovidae (antelopes and buffaloes) that are associated with Australopithecus sediba and about how the site of Malapa, South Africa formed. The number of bovids recovered from Malapa is small compared to other South African sites; however, several of the specimens are represented by complete skeletal elements and articulated, partial skeletons. Due to the small sample size, only a preliminary paleoenvironmental reconstruction can be suggested. Analyses on the bones indicate that no biotic agent accumulated the bones in the cave. The evidence suggests that complete animals entered the vertical cave opening and ultimately fossilized in a manner similar to the hominins approximately 1.977 million years ago.

Resumen en Español

Bóvidos (Mammalia) del Pleistoceno de Malapa, Provincia de Gauteng, Sudáfrica

Este estudio presenta un análisis de la colección de bóvidos (Mammalia: Artiodactyla) que actualmente está disponible en el yacimiento en el que se halló Australopithecus sediba en Malapa, Provincia de Gauteng, Sudáfrica. El conjunto se compone de elementos esqueléticos parcialmente articulados y estrechamente asociados. Las estimaciones de la edad ontogénica y, cuando fue posible, de la masa corporal se basaron en los elementos postcraneales. Los bóvidos están representados por un número mínimo de 13 individuos, cuatro de los cuales han sido identificados por debajo del nivel taxonómico de tribu incluyendo Makapania broomi, Tragelaphus scriptus, Megalotragus sp., y Antidorcas recki. El tamaño de la muestra de bóvidos es pequeño, por lo que sólo se indica una reconstrucción paleoambiental preliminar. El paleoambiente es consistente con las reconstrucciones realizadas de yacimientos cercanos en "la Cuna de la Humanidad" (Cradle of Humankind), incluyendo un mosaico de prados y bosques más extensos de lo que históricamente se ha registrado para la zona. También se indica una fuente de agua permanente. El análisis tafonómico de los restos de bóvidos demuestra patrones de rotura ósea indicativos de fracturas en seco postdeposicionales. Los huesos no presentan marcas particulares de un agente de acumulación. A pesar del pequeño tamaño de la muestra, el análisis tafonómico apoya la reconstrucción de Malapa como una trampa mortal vertical. Estos resultados sugieren que los restos quedaron enterrados y fosilizaron de una manera similar a los homínidos, apoyando un origen común para los homínidos y la fauna no homínida hace alrededor de 1,977 millones de años. Durante un período relativamente corto de tiempo, individuos completos de bóvidos, junto a individuos de A. sediba, entraron en la trampa mortal vertical de Malapa, ya fuese por accidente o por su propia voluntad, y en última instancia fosilizaron.

Palabras clave: Bovidae; Malapa; tafonomía; Pleistoceno temprano

Traducción: Enrique Peñalver (Sociedad Española de Paleontología)

Résumé en Français

Bovidae pléistocènes (Mammalia) de Malapa, province du Gauteng, Afrique du Sud

Cette étude présente une analyse de la collection de Bovidae (Mammalia : Artiodactyla) actuellement disponible pour le site à Australopithecus sediba de Malapa, province du Gauteng, Afrique du Sud. L'assemblage comprend des éléments squelettiques partiellement articulés et étroitement associés. Des estimations de l'âge ontogénétique, et lorsque que cela était possible de la masse corporelle, ont été effectuées d'après les éléments postcrâniens. Les bovidés sont représentés par un nombre minimal de 13 individus, dont quatre ont été identifiés à un niveau plus précis que celui de la tribu : Makapania broomi, Tragelaphus scriptus, Megalotragus sp., et Antidorcas recki. En raison de la petite taille de l'échantillon des bovidés, seule une reconstitution paléoenvironnementale préliminaire est présentée. Le paléoenvironnement est cohérent avec les reconstitutions des sites proches situés dans le « Cradle of Humankind », incluant une mosaïque de prairies et de zones boisées. Ces dernières étaient plus étendues que pendant les périodes historiques dans cette même zone géographique. Une source permanente d'eau est également indiquée. L'analyse taphonomique des restes de bovidés montre des schémas de fragmentation des os suggérant des fractures postdépositionnelles sur os secs. Les os ne montrent pas de marques propres à un agent d'accumulation d'os. Malgré la petite taille de l'échantillon, les analyses taphonomiques soutiennent la reconstitution de Malapa comme un aven-piège mortel. Ces résultats suggèrent que les restes ont été ensevelis et fossilisés d'une manière similaire à celle des restes d'Hominini, soutenant une origine commune des Hominini et du reste de la faune il y a environ 1,977 millions d'années. Au cours d'un laps de temps relativement court, des individus complets de bovidés sont entrés dans l'aven-piège mortel de Malapa à la même période que des individus d'A. sediba, soit accidentellement ou de leur plein gré, et ont été finalement fossilisés.

Mots-clés : Bovidae ; Malapa ; taphonomie ; Pléistocène ancien

Translator: Antoine Souron

Deutsche Zusammenfassung

Pleistozäne Bovidae (Mammalia) aus Malapa, Gauteng Provinz, Südafrika

Diese Arbeit präsentiert eine Analyse der Boviden-Sammlung (Mammalia: Artiodactyla), die derzeit aus der Australopithecus sediba-Fundstelle von Malapa, Gauteng Provinz, Südafrika verfügbar ist. Die Assemblage besteht aus teilweise artikulierten und eng miteinander verbundenen Skelettelementen. Das ontogenetische Alter und, wo möglich, die Körpermasse wurden anhand der Postcrania geschätzt. Die Boviden werden durch eine Mindestanzahl von 13 Individuen repräsentiert, von denen vier bis auf die Stamm-Ebene identifiziert wurden einschließlich Makapania broomi, Tragelaphus scriptus, Megalotragus sp. und Antidorcas recki. Wegen der kleinen Probengröße ist damit nur eine vorläufige Rekonstruktion der Paläoumwelt möglich. Die Paläoumwelt stimmt mit den Rekonstruktionen der naheliegenden Cradle of Humankind -Fundstellen überein, inklusive eines Mosaiks von Grasslandschaften und weiträumigeren Waldflächen als bisher für dieses Gebiet historisch erfasst. Eine permanente Wasserquelle ist ebenfalls erkennbar. Taphonomische Untersuchungen der Bovidenüberreste zeigen Knochenbruch-Muster, die darauf hindeuten, dass die Frakturen im Trockenen und nach der Ablagerung entstanden. Die Knochen zeigen keine Anzeichen eines besonderen knochenakkumulierenden Mittels. Trotz der kleinen Probengröße unterstützen die Analysen die Rekonstruktion von Malapa als vertikale Todesfalle. Diese Ergebnisse legen nahe, dass die Überreste auf die gleich Art und Weise bedeckt und fossilisiert wurden wie die Homininen, was einen gemeinsamen Ursprung von homininer und nicht-homininer Fauna vor ca. 1.977 Millionen Jahren unterstützt. Über eine relativ kurze Zeitspanne hinweg gerieten komplette Boviden-Individuen, zusammen mit Individuen von A. sediba in die vertikale Todesfalle von Malapa, entweder versehentlich oder aus eigenem Antrieb, und wurden schlussendlich fossilisiert.

Schlüsselwörter: Bovidae; Malapa; Taphonomie; frühes Pleistozän

Translator: Eva Gebauer

Arabic

618 arab

Translator: Ashraf M.T. Elewa

 

 

 

TABLE 1. Extant bovid species in the previously established reference sample for Elliptical Fourier Function Analysis (Brophy, 2011).

Tribe Species
Alcelaphini Connochaetes taurinus
  Connochaetes gnou
  Alcelaphus buselaphus
  Damaliscus dorcas
Tragelaphini Taurotragus oryx
  Tragelaphus strepsiceros
  Tragelaphus scriptus
Bovini Syncerus caffer
Reduncini Redunca arundinum
  Redunca fulvorufula
  Kobus leche
  Kobus ellipsiprymnus
Hippotragini Hippotragus niger
  Hippotragus equinus
  Oryx gazella
Neotragini Raphicerus campestris
  Oreotragus oreotragus
  Pelea capreolus
  Ourebia ourebi
Antilopini Antidorcas marsupialis

 

TABLE 2. Bovidae remains from Malapa, South Africa. NISP = Number of Identified Specimens; MNI = Minimum Number of Individuals

Order Artiodactyla NISP MNI
Family Bovidae
Subfamily Caprinae Tribe Ovibovini
Makapania broomi 2 2
Subfamily Bovinae Tribe Tragelaphini
Tragelaphus scriptus 3 1
Subfamily Alcelaphinae Tribe Alcelaphini
Alcelaphini Indeterminate 2 2
Megalotragus sp. 8 5
Subfamily Antilopinae Tribe Antilopini
Antidorcas recki 2 2
Antilopinae indeterminate 1 1
Bovidae Indeterminate 236

 

TABLE 3. Estimated mesiodistal (MD) measurements of Makapania broomi specimen UW 88-929 in mm.

Maxillary Right MD Left
M3 32.14 M3 33.07
M2 28.78 M2 29.19
M1 22.14 M1 22.86
P4 14.58 P4 14.57
P3 13.81 P3 13.7
P2 13.32 P2 9.7
Mandibular    
M3 38.35    
M2 29.01    
M1 22.86    
P4 14.75    
P3 12.81    
P2 10.61    

 

TABLE 4. Mesiodistal (MD) and buccolingual (BL) measurements in mm of Malapa UW 88-519, UW 88-518, UW 88-1015, M18, and M19

MD BL
M3 88-519 18.82 6.73
M18 17.54 6.24
M19 19.1 7.65
M2 88-518 N/A N/A
M18 12.68 6.8
M19 13.07 8.24
M1 M1 (88-518) 12.47 7.52
M18 11.29 6.77
M19 11.22 7.91
P4 P4 (88-1015) roots 9.03 4.97
M18 9.88 4.87
M19 10.52 5.86
P3 P3 (88-1015) roots 7.52 5.12
M18 8.13 4.33
  M19 N/A N/A

 

TABLE 5. Table 5. Measurements of Malapa teeth compared with Megalotragus sp. and Connochates sp. fossils recovered from Swartkrans Member 1, Kromdraai A, Sterkfontein Member 4, and Makapansgat (Vrba, 1976; Reed, 1996). Due to sample size, mean and minimum and maximum sizes were not always able to be determined. Size was only able to aid in taxonomic designation for the M2.

      Megalotragus   Connochaetes  
Accession Number Tooth Type Tooth Measurement (mm) Mean Min Max n   Mean Min Max n Designation based on size
 
 
UW 88-1311 P4 16.1 16.5 16.5 16.5 1   18.1625 14.5 23.1 8 Inconclusive
UW 88-1205 M1 27.34 24.4 N/A N/A 1   24.11 18.5 28.2 15 Inconclusive
UW 88-746 M2 28.31 27.15 24 30.3 2   27.5 23 32.1 21 Inconclusive
UW 88-556 P4 19.74 15.5 N/A N/A 1   21.55 9 31.5 20 Inconclusive
UW 88-1250 P4 19.01                   Inconclusive
UW 88-1250 P3 13.73 N/A N/A N/A             Inconclusive
UW 88-1250 M1 22.22 20.5 N/A N/A 1   21 16.5 25 13 Inconclusive
UW 88-1251 M1 23.5                   Inconclusive
UW 88-1251 M2 29.66 32.825 28 35 6   24.865 22.5 28 20 Megalotragus

 

 

TABLE 6. Skeletal part representation of Malapa bovid postcrania divided up by Body Size Class (BSC) (Number of Identified Specimens/Minimum Number of Elements/Minimum Number of Individuals).

BSI BSII BSIII
Humerus, complete 1/1/1
Proximal humerus   1/1/1 2/2/1
Distal humerus   1/1/1 3/2/1
Femur, complete 1/1/1
Proximal femur   2/2/2
Distal femur   4/3/2 2/1/1
Tibia, complete 2/2/1
Proximal tibia   2/2/2 1/1/1
Shaft tibia   1/1/1 1/1/1
Distal tibia   2/2/1
Radius
Proximal radius   1/1/1
Shaft radius   1/1/1 1/1/1
Distal radius   1/1/1 1/1/1
Ulna
Proximal ulna   3/3/2
Shaft ulna   1/1/1
Distal ulna   1/1/1
Metacarpal, complete 6/2/1
Proximal metacarpal   3/3/2
Shaft metacarpal   1/1/1
Distal metacarpal   2/2/1
Metatarsal  
Proximal metatarsal   1/1/1 1/1/1
Shaft metatarsal   1/1/1 4/2/1
Distal metatarsal   1/1/1 1/1/1
Metapodial
Distal metatarsal   1/1/1 2/2/1
Scapula 8/3/3 2/2/2
Atlas 1/1/1
Axis 1/1/1
Cervical vertebra 7/7/2 1/1/1
Thoracic vertebra 6/6/2 5/5/2
Lumbar vertebra 8/5/2
Caudal vertebra 1/1/1
Stenebra 1/1/1
Pelvis 1/1/1
Ribs 32/5/1 10/4/1
Sacrum 3/2/2
Proximal phalanx 4/3/1 10/10/3
Intermediate phalanx 1/1/1 4/4/2 7/7/2
Distal phalanx 2/2/1 2/2/1
Accessory carpal 1/1/1
Astragalus 3/3/2 1/1/1
Calcaneous 4/3/3 2/2/2
Internal cuneiform 1/1/1
Cuneiform 1/1/1
Lateral malleolus 1/1/1
Magnum 2/2/1
Naviculo-cuboid 2/2/1 1/1/1
Scaphoid 1/1/1
Unciform 1/1/1 1/1/1
Sesamoid 7/7/2

 

 

TABLE 7. Estimated ages of Megalotragus sp. specimens from Malapa based on occlusion rates from Connochaetes taurinus (Talbot and Talbot, 1963).

 Accession
Number
 Estimated Age of Specimen
(months)
UW 88-556  < 30-33
UW 88-746  30-33
 UW 88-1205  ~6
 UW 88-1249  26-28+
UW 88-1250 37-40+
UW 88-1251 26-28
UW 88-1299 30-33+
UW 88-1311 30-33+

 

 

TABLE 8. Differences in identifications between this paper and identifications listed in Val et al. (2015).

Accession Number Suggested Identifications Val et al., (2015)
88-518 Tragelaphus scriptus Tragelaphus
88-519 Tragelaphus scriptus Tragelaphus
88-555 Bovidae gen. et sp. indet. Unknown Bovid II
88-556 Megalotragus sp. Bovid
88-562 Antilopini gen. et sp. indet. Tragelaphini
88-734 Bovidae gen. et sp. indet. Unknown Bovid III
88-746 Megalotragus sp. Alcelaphini Bovid III
88-796 Bovidae gen. et sp. indet. Unknown Bovid III
88-797 Makapania broomi Unknown Bovid III
88-869 Antidorcas sp. not in paper
88-877 Alcelaphini gen. et sp. indet. Connchaetes
88-929 Makapania broomi Tragelaphus
88-1015 Tragelaphus scriptus Unknown Bovid II
88-1205 Megalotragus sp. Alcelaphini Bovid III
88-1249 Megalotragus sp. not in paper
88-1250 Megalotragus sp. not in paper
88-1251 Megalotragus sp. not in paper
88-1298 Antidorcas recki not in paper
88-1299 Megalotragus sp. not in paper
88-1311 Megalotragus sp. not in paper
88-1314 Bovidae gen. et sp. indet. not in paper
 

FIGURE 1. Anterior (left) and lateral (right) view of UW 88-929, Makapania broomi.

figure1

FIGURE 2. UW 88-797 maxillary fragment with a right M1 and M2.

figure2

FIGURE 3. Occlusal surface of Malapa UW 88-518, UW 88-519, and UW 88-1015 refit together. The arrows are illustrating the mesostylid, paraconid, and parastylid, from left to right.

figure3

FIGURE 4. Comparison of holotype M 18 (top) and paratype M 19 (center) of T. pricei with Malapa mandible (bottom).

figure4

FIGURE 5. Malapa specimen UW 88-1299, right maxillary fragment with M2 and M3 (left). Malapa specimen UW 88-1205, left maxillary fragment with M1 (right).

figure5

FIGURE 6. UW 88-746 maxilla with left M2 and M3.

figure6

FIGURE 7. Lateral (left) and occlusal view (right) of UW 88-1251.

figure7

FIGURE 8. UW 88-877 Body Size Class III bovid mandible fragment.

figure8

FIGURE 9. UW 88-1298 right Antidorcas recki adult mandible.

figure9

FIGURE 10. UW 88-869 right mandibular M1.

figure10

FIGURE 11. UW 88-562 BSC I bovid, Subfamily Antilopinae.

figure11

FIGURE 12. UW 88-555 horn core fragment of BSC II (left). UW 88-734 partial horn core of a BSC III (right).

figure12

FIGURE 13. Block 848 bovid BSC II in situ with femur and tibiae in articulation. Associated right metatarsal, astragalus, naviculocuboid, and distal phalanx are also in the Block.

figure13

FIGURE 14. Malapa blocks with articulated cervical (left) and thoracic (right) vertebrae.

figure14

FIGURE 15. Lingual view of Malapa UW 88-518 and UW 88-519 demonstrating high occlusal relief and sharp cusps.

figure15

FIGURE 16. Metapodial (left), UW 88-1247, demonstrating cracking and longitudinal fractures typical of Behrensmeyer (1975) Stage 1 weathering and diagenetic processes. UW 88-1224, (right) metatarsal exhibits longitudinal fractures, cracking, and cortical peeling.

figure16

FIGURE 17. Types of surface modification identified on Malapa bovid limb bones and number of specimens with that modification.

figure17

FIGURE 18. Results of the shaft circumference completeness in Malapa bovid limb bones.

figure18

FIGURE 19. Results of the shaft fragmentation in Malapa bovid limb bones.

figure19

 

julietJuliet K. Brophy. Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Juliet K. Brophy is a Biological Anthropologist with a specialization in Paleoanthropology. Juliet received her Masters degree from the University of Tennessee and PhD from Texas A&M University. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Lousiana and Research Affiliate and Rising Star Associate in the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her particular research interests involve using morphometric analyses to examine taxonomic differences among Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominins and evaluate phylogenetic hypotheses regarding their evolution. Specifically, she employs a two-dimensional morphometric tool, Elliptical Fourier Function Analysis (EFFA), to quantify and identify species-specific dental characteristics. She is one of the dental morphologists investigating the teeth of South African hominins including Australopithecus sediba from the site of Malapa and Homo naledi from Dinaledi. She is also interested in documenting the paleoenvironments associated with the South African hominins and assessing how changes in these environments might have influenced hominin evolution. She is currently the Director of Bovid Studies at the Institute of Human Evolution, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg for Malapa. She has been involved in excavations at several fossil localities in South Africa including Plover’s Lake, Coopers, and Gladysvale Cave and, at present, Juliet is senior research assistant in charge of field operations at the early Pliocene site of Matjhabeng in the Free State of South Africa. In addition to her excavation experience, Juliet is also interested in and has performed studies on the taphonomic effects of hominin and carnivore activities on patterns of bone fragmentation.

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darrylDarryl J. de Ruiter. Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Darryl de Ruiter is a paleoanthropologist in the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Originally from Canada, Dr. de Ruiter received his Masters degree in Anthropology at the University of Manitoba in 1995. The following year he moved to South Africa to continue his studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, receiving his PhD from the Department of Anatomical Sciences in 2001. He was employed as a Research Officer in the Bernard Price Institute of the University of the Witwatersrand from 2001 until 2003, when he moved to his current position in Texas. In 2009 Dr. de Ruiter was promoted to Associate Professor and was selected as a ‘Ray A. Rothrock’ Fellow in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M. In 2013 Dr. de Ruiter was promoted to the rank of Professor, and in 2014 he was appointed as a Cornerstone Faculty Fellow in Liberal Arts at Texas A&M. Dr. de Ruiter was also appointed as an Honorary Reader in the recently established Evolutionary Studies Institute of the University of the Witwatersrand, and he maintains close collaborative ties with his friends and colleagues in South Africa. His current research focuses on the fossil hominins of South Africa, in particular Australopithecus sediba from Malapa and Homo naledi from Dinaledi.

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mikaelMikael Fortelius. Department of Geosciences and Geography, Institute of Biotechnology; Finnish Museum of Natural History. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mikael Fortelius is a palaeontologist with a long-standing interest in how mammalian teeth work, grow, and evolve, and how understanding teeth can help us understand the past, present, and future states of the world. He is Professor of Evolutionary Palaeontology in the Department of Geoscience and Geography at the University of Helsinki and Kristine Bonnevie Professor at the University of Oslo. For the last 20 years he has been engaged in developing and using the NOW database of fossil mammals (www.helsinki.fi/science/now/). His past work has been
strongly centered on the last 20 million years of climate change and mammal evolution in Eurasia. He is the inventor, together with Nikos Solounias, of the mesowear method of palaeodiet reconstruction. Photo by Ari Aalto.

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marionMarion Bamford. Evolutionary Studies Institute and School of Geosciences, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Marion works on a wide range of fossil plants from the Devonian to the Holocene in Africa. She specialises in fossil woods from the Permian, Cretaceous, and Cenozoic but she also studies fossil leaves, seeds, charcoal, and microfossils. Current multidisciplinary projects include the vegetation and palaeoenvironments of Sterkfontein, Wonderwerk, Sibudu, and Border Caves in South Africa, Olduvai, and Laetoli in Tanzania, and Rusinga, Koobi for a, and Lukeino in Kenya. She supervises post graduate students and lectures at Wits University.

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leeLee R. Berger. Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prof. Lee R. Berger Ph.D. D.Sc. FRSSAf ASSAf is an award-winning researcher, explorer, author, and speaker. He is the recipient of the National Geographic Society’s first Prize for Research and Exploration and the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award. His work has brought him recognition as a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and the South African Academy of Sciences and prominent advisory positions including the Chairmanship of the Fulbright Commission of South Africa, the Senior Advisory Board of the Global Young Academy and the Centre of Excellence in PalaeoSciences of South Africa among many others. He is a South African Ambassador for Tourism, Conventions and Business Events. He has been awarded several humanitarian awards including the Boy Scout Medal of Honor for saving a life and the Red Cross Certificate of Merit. In addition his efforts in conservation have been recognized by the William T. Hornaday Award and Georgia’s Youth Conservationist of the Year. His explorations into human origins on the African continent, Asia, and Micronesia for the past two and a half decades have resulted in many new discoveries, including the discovery of two new species of early human relatives – Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi. His contributions to exploration sciences have also resulted in advances in the field of applied exploration methods and the application of technology to exploration, excavation, and discovery. He is the author of more than 200 scholarly and popular works including more than 100 refereed papers and a number of academic and popular books on palaeontology, natural history, and exploration. His work has been featured three times on the cover of Science, and has been named the top 100 science stories of the year by Time, Scientific American and Discover Magazine on numerous occasions. He has appeared in many television documentaries on subjects related to archaeology, palaeoanthropology and natural history. Berger is an internationally recognized proponent of open access science and open sourcing. He has founded the not for profit Lee R. Berger Foundation for Exploration and was a founder of the Palaeoanthropological Scientific Trust and a founding Trustee of the Jane Goodall Society of South Africa. He is Director of both the Malapa site and Rising Star excavations, the latter resulting in the discovery of the largest primitive hominin assemblage in history. He is an avid diver and adventurer and holds a PADI Divemaster certificate among many other specialties. Berger was born in Shawnee Mission Kansas and grew up in rural Georgia. He was awarded his Eagle Scout in 1983 achieving his silver and gold palms and has been recognized as a Distinguished Eagle Scout by the Eagle Scouts Association of America. Berger is presently the Research Professor in Human Evolution and the Public Understanding of Science at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and an Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society. He is also the Division Director of Palaeoanthropology in the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand. He holds a Ph.D. in palaeoanthropology and a Doctor of Science in the same field.