Said Berger, “And so by the end of that remarkable 21-day experience, we had discovered the largest assemblage of fossil human relatives ever discovered in the history of the continent of Africa”.
Homo naledi had a brain no larger than an orange, hands and wrists capable of human-like manipulations, human-like feet, and long legs.
Besides introducing a new member of the prehuman family, the discovery suggests that some early hominins intentionally deposited bodies of their dead in a remote and largely inaccessible cave chamber, a behaviour previously considered limited to modern humans. The species was named Naledi and put in the grouping of Homo, to which modern humans belong.
Since then, 15 individuals consisting of more than 1,500 pieces of bone have been unearthed by paleontologists from a deep chamber within the cave system.
However, some scientists do not believe there is enough evidence, yet, to be able to say for sure that this is definitely a new species.
Professor Lee Berger, from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, who led an expedition to the site some 30 miles north-west of Johannesburg, said: “We have just met a new species of human relative that deliberately disposed of its dead”.
“Homo naledi is already practically the best-known fossil member of our lineage”.
The Homo Naledi probably used fire to reach the place.
Details of the find were revealed yesterday at a press briefing in Johannesburg.
The latest discovery of scientists may change the history of mankind as fossilized bones of 15 human ancestors have been dug up in an African underground graveyard.
The discovery was made inside the Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa. Looking at the skulls, the teeth are small like ours, but the brains are small to match – part of what led the research team to believe that Homo naledi could have lived as many as three million years ago. It shows there were different species of hominids alive at different times that combined all sorts of different features. It has an ability to climb and swing on tree branches, because of its primitive shoulders and torso.