Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Human Ancestor Discovered: Homo naledi (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) + Building the Face of Our Newly Found Ancestor

We read about this (and we're sure you've all heard by now), about the fascinating discovery last week when a new species of human, Homo naledi (naledi meaning “star” in the Sotho language), was discovered in South Africa's Rising Star cave system - about 30 miles northwest of Johannesburg in an area so tight that 'skinny scientists' aka 'underground astronauts' had to be used. (See 2nd video). 
Over 1,500 fossil remains were found by paleoanthropologist Lee Berger and his team who says, "It absolutely questions what makes us human. And I don't think we know anymore what does." To put the find in perspective, he states, "This is like opening up Tutankhamen's tomb. It is that extreme and perhaps that influential in this stage of our history." At present, the team has yet to date Homo naledi's fossils, but think of the questions when they do...

Within a deep and narrow cave in South Africa, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger and his team found fossil remains belonging to the newest member of our human family. The Homo naledi discovery adds another exciting chapter to the human evolution story by introducing an ancestor that was primitive but shared physical characteristics with modern humans.
Because the cave system where the bones were located was extremely difficult to access, it could be speculated that these hominins practiced a behavior previously believed to be modern: that of deliberately disposing of their dead underground.

From CNN:

Underground astronauts

Gathering the fossils was dangerous work.
Berger, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, was already well-known for his discovery of "Australopithecus sediba," another species of human ancestor, in 2008. But this expedition would face unique challenges.
The fossils were found at the end of a series of chambers and tight squeezes deep underground, some 90 meters (100 yards) from the cave entrance. To get there, scientists would have to squeeze through a 7-inch wide cave opening.

Info source: theguardian | cnn

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