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Second Cave Chamber Reveals Spectacular New Homo Naledi Skull and More

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The first fossils of Homo naledi, discovered in 2013 and described as a new species of hominin in 2015, have just been dated to coming from only 236,000 to 335,000 years ago—close to the origins of our own species. (Read: Did This Mysterious Ape-Human Once Live Alongside Our Ancestors?)

What does it mean for prevailing models of the human family tree? And what about the contentious idea that they intentionally disposed of their dead deep in caves?

New papers published today in ELife by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger and team shed new light on this mysterious member of our family. They also reveal that a second chamber contains the remains of at least three more individuals, including the most complete Homo naledi skull yet found (seen above).

Dig in to the discovery for yourself with the open-access papers, complete with photos of the fossils, cave diagrams, and more detailed information to sink your own perfectly adapted teeth into:

The age of Homo naledi and associated sediments in the Rising Star Cave, South Africa

New fossil remains of Homo naledi from the Lesedi Chamber, South Africa

Homo naledi and Pleistocene hominin evolution in subequatorial Africa

 

 

Comments

  1. Richard Bronson
    718 Riverview Dr. North Augusta, SC 29841
    May 20, 8:32 am

    Is it possible that the caves represent an early primal settlement; not necessarily one by design but a spontaneous occurrence for various subsistence advantages.
    Does disposing of bodies represent primal spiritualism? Is spiritualism a survival strategy? Is it hard wired… something that allows us to cope with the unknown; an embedded system that allows us to believe we will be safe as we move forward over the next mountain, up the Danube and into western Europe? My apologies if these questions are beyond scientific purview but Göbekli Tepe suggest that spiritualism was practiced while we were only mobile. It is easy enough to come up with examples of spiritual practice. Defining or understanding what it actually is has always been elusive.