Homo naledi

Homo naledi is a species of the tribe Hominini, extant during the late Pliocene or early Pleistocene epoch, between roughly 3 and 2 million years ago. H. naledi was discovered in 2013 in Rising Star Cave in South Africa. The remains of fifteen individuals were found during the initial investigation, and scientists believe more remain. The fact that the bones were disposed of together suggests possible ritualistic behaviour in the species.

H. naledi stood approximately 150 centimetres tall, and analysis of its skeleton suggests it stood upright and was fully bipedal. However, the species' brains were markedly smaller than modern Homo sapiens, measuring between 450 and 550 cubic centimeters. It is believed the bones may have belonged to members of a family, as their features are strikingly similar.

In the News ...

Homo naledi: Hands, feet suggest 'jack of all trades'   BBC - October 6, 2015
The human ancestor Homo naledi was something of an all-rounder, able to move efficiently on the ground but also adept at climbing in trees. Scientists have just published a second batch of papers on the creature whose remains were sensationally found deep inside a South African cave. The scholarly articles focus entirely on naledi's hands and feet. Its feet were clearly those of a walker while the hands had curved fingers to grasp and hold on to branches. But the hands also show a remarkable level of modernity that is only really evident in late Homo species, such as today's humans and our now extinct cousins, the Neanderthals.

  Homo naledi: New human ancestor buried its dead   ENCA - September 10, 2015

New human-like species discovered in S Africa   BBC - September 10, 2015
Scientists have discovered a new human-like species in a burial chamber deep in a cave system in South Africa. The discovery of 15 partial skeletons is the largest single discovery of its type in Africa. The researchers claim that the discovery will change ideas about our human ancestors.

Scientists have discovered a new species of human ancestor deep in a South African cave, adding a baffling new branch to the family tree   National Geographic - September 10, 2015
A trove of bones hidden deep within a South African cave represents a new species of human ancestor. 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?

  Homo naledi: New species of human ancestor discovered in South Africa   CNN - September 10, 2015
When an amateur caver and university geologist arrived at Lee Berger's house one night in late 2013 with a fragment of a fossil jawbone in hand, they broke out the beers and called National Geographic.