Explorers

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Lars Werdelin is senior curator of fossil vertebrates at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Palaeozoology and a former head of the department. He holds adjunct faculty positions in paleontology and zoology at the universities of Uppsala and Stockholm and has been visiting research scholar at Arizona State University.

Dr. Werdelin studies the evolution, systematics, and ecology of mammalian carnivores, a topic which has led him to do research on all continents except Antarctica (where there are no terrestrial mammal carnivores). Since the early 1990s he has focused on the carnivore fossil record of Africa where he “studies the animals that ate our ancestors.” He collaborates on a number of field projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania and apart from laying the foundations for much future research in his basic descriptive work, he also investigates the relationship between and mutual impact of human and carnivore evolution.

He has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and co-edited several books, including “Cenozoic Mammals of Africa.” He has translated numerous popular science books into Swedish and was curator-in-charge of the permanent museum exhibitions “4 ½ billion years – the history of Earth and Life” (1996) and “The Human Journey” (2008).

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About the Global Exploration Fund

The National Geographic Society has funded the work of curious and inquiring men and women in every corner of the Earth—filling gaps in human knowledge, sometimes in spectacular ways. Since 1888, National Geographic has awarded more than 10,000 grants representing a combined value of $153 million. Scientific field research, exploration, conservation, and adventure are the backbone of National Geographic’s grants, which have led to countless discoveries that continue to shed light on the planet’s rich variety and diversity—and help to preserve it. The results from fieldwork are shared with audiences around the world through an array of National Geographic media, including print, broadcast, and online outlets, as well as events, exhibitions, and educational platforms.

The Global Exploration Fund is a global initiative modeled on National Geographic’s century-long approach to funding research, conservation, and exploration projects through targeted grant programs. Supported through funding partnerships, National Geographic plans to launch regional Global Exploration Funds around the world. Each fund will rely upon an intensive peer-review process to evaluate projects seeking funding and an advisory board of scientific and innovation experts to help guide the program to achieve regional priorities. The grantees and outcomes supported by the fund will benefit from National Geographic media and outreach.

National Geographic launched the Global Exploration Fund in 2011 in Sweden to extend support to scientists, conservationists, and explorers from the Northern Europe region who are advancing research and exploring solutions for the benefit of the planet. In 2012, the Global Exploration Fund expanded to China with a dedicated Air and Water Conservation Fund designed to focus China’s most creative scientific and conservation talent on solving problems confronting the country’s air and water resources.

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