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Monday, May 29, 2017

This Human Relative May Have Lived Alongside Our Species in Africa

A newly found, small-brained human relative might have shared the African landscape with modern humans and probably other hominids between 226,000 and 335,000 years ago.
When the discovery of Homo naledi was announced two years ago, the news prompted both amazement and incredulity. H. naledi was described as a small-bodied hominid with a brain one third the size of that of Homo sapiens. Its remains were found within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star Cave system, which is part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site northwest of Johannesburg. Some scientists believed the researchers — who published their finds in the nascent journal eLife and worked under the glare of television cameras — played fast and loose with the truth.
Now the leader of that earlier research, paleontologist Lee Berger of the University of Witwatersrand (Wits University), and his colleagues have announced via three papers in the same journal more startling finds concerning H. naledi.
They report the discovery of a second chamber within Rising Star with abundant H. naledi fossils, including one of the most complete skeletons of an early human ever found, as well as the remains of at least one child and another adult. They further mention that dating of the site and original H. naledi remains shows these individuals were alive sometime between 236,000–335,000 years ago.
Read More here.

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