H. naledi's placement in the genus Homo. Artist Gurche spent some 700 hours reconstructing the head from bone scans, using bear fur for hair. Photograph by Mark Thiessen, Article By National Geographic - By Jamie Shreeve, National Geographic Photographs by Robert Clark
Scientists have discovered a new species of human ancestor deep in a South African cave, adding a baffling new branch to the family tree in the Cradle Of Humankind - South Africa While primitive in some respects, the face, skull, and teeth show enough modern features to justify.
A trove of bones hidden deep within a South African cave represents a new species of human ancestor, scientists announced Thursday in the journal eLife. Homo naledi, as they call it, appears very primitive in some respects—it had a tiny brain, for instance, and apelike shoulders for climbing.
But in other ways it looks remarkably like modern humans. When did it live? Where does it fit in the human family tree? And how did its bones get into the deepest hidden chamber of the cave—could such a primitive creature have been disposing of its dead intentionally? This is the story of one of the greatest fossil discoveries of the past half century, and of what it might mean for our understanding of human evolution.
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