Stunning fossils of a claimed new human species have stirred up great excitement among paleoanthropologists, but some researchers have also flinched at the hype accompanying the unconventional excavation. The dig, which began with a Facebook call for skinny cavers who could reach the fossil chamber in a South African cave, was live-blogged and was the focus of a NOVA/National Geographic documentary aired on public television in the United States Wednesday night. This isn’t the first time the man behind the discovery, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, has combined spectacular fossil finds with a rapid, popularizing style of analysis that has grated on his peers. In 2008, he discovered the most complete skeleton yet published of an ancient African hominin, 2-million-year-old Australopithecus sediba. But some critics said efforts to consider Au. sediba a possible ancestor of our genus Homo were misguided, and that a previous National Geographic video special on tiny skeletons from Southeast Asia exaggerated those bones’ importance. Why is this enthusiastic paleontologist so controversial? Find out in this story: Paleoanthropologist Now Rides High on a New Fossil Tide (Science, 9 September 2011, p.1373).