Thu Sep 10, 2015, 04:40 AM

Homo naledi: New species of ancient human discovered, claim scientists

The women recovered more than 1500 pieces of bone belonging to at least 15 individuals. The remains appear to be infants, juveniles and one very old adult. Thousands more pieces of bone are still in the chamber, smothered in the soft dirt that covers the ground.

The leaders of the National Geographic-funded project believe the bones - as yet undated - represent a new species of ancient human relative. They have named the creature Homo naledi, where naledi means “star” in Sesotho, a local South African language. But other experts on human origins say the claim is unjustified, at least on the evidence gathered so far. The bones, they argue, look strikingly similar to those of early Homo erectus, a forerunner of modern humans who wandered southern Africa 1.5 million years ago.

“We’ve found a new species that we are placing in the genus Homo, which is really quite remarkable,” said Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist who led the work at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He described the slender, small-brained creatures as “long-legged”, “pinheaded” and “gangly”. The males stood about five feet tall, with females a little shorter.

Measurements of the bones show that the creature has a curious blend of ancient ape and modern human-like features. Its brain is tiny, the size of a gorilla’s. Its teeth are small and simple. The thorax is primitive and ape-like, but its hands more modern, their shape well-suited to making basic tools. The feet and ankles are built for walking upright, but its fingers are curved, a feature seen in apes that spend much of their time in the trees. The findings are reported in two papers published in the online journal eLife.

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Reply Homo naledi: New species of ancient human discovered, claim scientists (Original post)
Muzzlehatch Sep 2015 OP
RATFINK_5.0 Sep 2015 #1

Response to Muzzlehatch (Original post)

Thu Sep 10, 2015, 04:57 AM

1. Just heard same on BBC ... Sorry, I can't resist:

Apparently Africa has many deep caves/pits where early hominoids were dispersed either thru burial or large animals disposing their bones after eating them.

The evolution of man looks more & more like J.R.R. Tolkien story than a linear model from ape to man.

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