The Wits University palaeoanthropologist who pioneered the historic discovery of the Homo Naledi, revealed last year, has been named among TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People 2016.

Lee Berger was featured in the list’s 13th edition, recognises the impact certain individuals have had on the world and how they’ve shaped it. Berger is featured in the Pioneers category.

“One way scientists know they’ve had an impact is if they’ve gotten their peers talking. A better way is getting them arguing. By that measure and others, Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, has had a huge year,” Jeffrey Kluger writes about Berger in the TIME 100 profile.

TIME uses a number of criteria to choose its 100, some of which Google News and social media mentions, records broken and not necessarily likability (which explains the inclusion of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un on the list).

According to Wits, Berger’s work over the last few years has led to the discoveries most complete early hominin fossils found so far, which belong to a new species of early human ancestor, Australopithecus sediba, and, in 2013, the richest early hominin site yet found on the continent of Africa and a new species of human relative, Homo naledi.

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“It is an honour to be included in the TIME 100 and a tribute to the world-class and influential science being produced on the African continent by African scientists and African institutions such as Wits University,” Berger said in a statement.

“This recognition also reflects on the hard work of my colleagues, who are all critical to both the discoveries being made, as well as the interpretations put forward in the scientific literature,” he said.

[Source – Wits University, image – YouTube]