All scientific eyes were focused on South Africa this morning when a historic fossil discovery was unveiled at the Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng. Professor Lee Burger announced the discovery of a new species of human ancestor, Homo Naledi that National Geographic has called ‘one of the greatest fossil discoveries of the past half century’. Significantly, scientists believe that the new species was deliberately burying it’s dead.
“Naledi’s brain was no bigger than an orange, scientists say. Its hands are superficially human-like, but the finger bones are locked into a curve — a trait that suggests climbing and tool-using capabilities. Homo naledi was relatively big: it stood about 5 feet tall, had long legs, and its feet are almost identical to ours, suggesting it had the ability to walk long distances.” [CNN]
Here’s a reconstruction of what Homo Naledi would have looked like.
The discovery has been kept secret since 2013 when a piece of a fossil jawbone was found in a deep chamber believed to be a burial ground within the Rising Star Cave system.
Here’s the exclusive video from Nat Geo.
You can go and read the full story on National Geographic HERE.