An intrepid SFU alum has been named one of National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers, a group of 13 scientists and explorers who are making changes and discoveries to better the globe.
Biological anthropologist Marina Elliot was finishing her PhD at SFU when she had the opportunity to help excavate a cave in South Africa called Rising Star. She ended up helping paleoanthropologist Lee Berger discover a new species of human ancestor called Homo naledi.
Elliot tells National Geographic that she continues to excavate at Rising Star, fearlessly squeezing through small tunnels and spending hours in the dark, all in the name of exploration and science. She’s also a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Withwatersrand in Johannesberg.
“What this naledi find has very clearly demonstrated is that there really is a need for explorers: people who have a scientific background, but also have that adventurous spirit enough to go into areas that are unknown—or even known,” Elliot said to National Geographic. “So for me, the next steps are about expanding this idea of exploration and taking it to new areas, whether that’s in South Africa or beyond. I’m certainly amenable to both.”
It seems Elliot is in good company on National Geographic’s 2016 list of Emerging Explorers – engineers, marine biologists, conservationists, wildlife crime investigators, and astrophysicists from around the world appeared in the roster as well.