A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed below are some of the experts and the departure date(s) they will be joining.
Paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer has worked at the Natural History Museum London since 1973, where he now leads research in Human Origins. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society. Chris's early research was on the relationship of Neanderthals and early modern humans in Europe. Through his work on the "Recent African Origin" model for modern human origins, he now collaborates with archaeologists, dating specialists, and geneticists in attempting to reconstruct the evolution of modern humans globally. He has excavated at sites in Britain and abroad, and is currently leading the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project in its third phase (AHOB3). He has published more than 250 scientific papers, and his recent books include Homo Britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain, The Complete World of Human Evolution (with Peter Andrews), and Lone Survivors.
University of Pennsylvania professor and National Geographic grantee Harold Dibble currently directs excavations at the cave of La Ferrrassie in Dordogne, France, and at the Grotte des Contrebandiers (Smugglers' Cave) in Morocco. A recent National Geographic Channel Naked Science episode, "World's Oldest Child," focused on his and his team's discovery of a roughly 108,000-year-old human fossil at the latter site. Harold pioneered the use of GIS and other spatial technology tools for the study of ancient humans and hominids, and he has co-authored more than a dozen books. He has conducted field research at the French Paleolithic sites of Combe-Capelle bas, Cagny-l’Epinette, Fontéchevade, Pech de l’Azé IV, and Roc de Marsal, and he was co-director of the Abydos Survey for Paleolithic Sites in the desert surrounding Abydos, Egypt. He is Curator-in-Charge of the European Archaeology Section and was formerly Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at the Penn Museum.
National Geographic staff writer and editor Andrew Howley's enthusiasm for cave art began in college when he scrawled a bison on the wall above his desk. Throughout his studies of archaeology and art, images from the European caves held an elevated status and later inspired him to paint them on everyday objects to peddle at local fairs. He finally visited the caves when his first writing assignment for the Geographic had him covering the 2010 International Federation of Rock Art Organizations (IFRAO) conference in France on the 70th anniversary of the discovery of Lascaux. Later, while reporting from a marine biology expedition to the Pitcairn Islands with NG Explorers-in-Residence Enric Sala and Mike Fay, he scaled perilous cliffs to see some of the most remote petroglyphs in the world. In late 2013, he headed underground once more, to produce daily reports on Lee Berger's Rising Star Expedition, which unearthed a record number of early hominid fossils from a tiny cave in South Africa.
Historian and educator David Barnes joined Lindblad Expeditions as a full-time expedition historian in 1998 and has traveled the world aboard the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet in that capacity, from the Arctic to the Antarctic (via Saudi Arabia) and from the Seychelles to Easter Island (via Namibia). He studied history at the University of York in England and theology at the University of Wales. Research in the field of religious history, at Cardiff, followed on naturally. He has spent most of his professional life teaching history. In addition to work as a lecturing historian for National Geographic and Lindblad, David has taught a wide variety of adult education courses with the University of Wales. He has published extensively on Welsh history and topography—his most recent book being The Companion Guide to Wales—and is a frequent contributor of articles and reviews to Welsh cultural and literary journals. He speaks English and French in addition to his native Welsh, and has travelled extensively in Ireland and France for more than forty years. David was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1998 and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2003, and he is a member of the Welsh Academy and of the Gorsedd of Bards.
National Geographic grantee Ana Pinto is a Spanish archaeologist working in the field of human evolution. She earned her masters and doctoral degrees in the Human Origins group at London's Natural History Museum, then worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Donald Johanson at Arizona State University's Institute of Human Origins. Her fields of interest include fossilization processes, ancient environments, early human diets, and the origins of modern human behavior as expressed in Europe over the last 40,000 years. Ana has conducted much of her research in caves and rock shelters requiring vertical rope techniques in Spain, Tanzania, and Kenya. She has also participated in excavation and field research projects in England, South Africa, and Armenia. In 2001 Ana discovered the Sopeña rockshelter, which contains a long archaeological stratigraphy bearing evidence to the last millenia of Neanderthal life and the immediate substitution by Cro-magnon. Ana was part of the Atapuerca team during the years of major discoveries at this World Heritage-listed archaeological site, and received the prestigous Prince of Asturias Prize in 1997 awarded to the Atapuerca Team. She was the 2005 Humanities Awardee of the Wings World Quest Foundation and named Spanish Distinguished Researcher in 2006 by the Spanish Government.