Archaeologists in South Africa have announced the discovery of a new human species, a find they say could change our understanding of our ancestors. Aljazeera reports:
Researchers at Witwatersrand (Wits) University said on Thursday that the species, which they named Homo naledi, appeared to have intentionally buried its dead in graves – a feature that was once thought to be limited to modern humans.
The scientists at Wits say they have recovered parts belonging to at least 15 individuals of the same species. “With almost every bone in the body represented multiple times, H naledi is already practically the best-known fossil member of our lineage,” said Professor Lee Berger, research professor in the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Wits.
The remains were found in a cave known as Rising Star in the Cradle of Humankind, about 50km northwest of the South African city of Johannesburg.
The fossils, which included those of children, adults and elderly members of the species, were found in a room deep underground the cave network. Researchers said the room had been isolated from other chambers and was not open to the surface.