A few shortcuts to the latest Homo naledi news

Still feel as if you’re not quite yet on top of the biggest science news coming out of South Africa this week? About the latest news about Homo naledi? Here’s a few essential links:

 

Here’s the full press release from Wits University. The first two paragraphs read:

“The Rising Star Cave system in South Africa has revealed yet more important discoveries, only a year and a half after it was announced that the richest fossil hominin site in Africa had been discovered, and that it contained a new hominin species named Homo naledi by the scientists who described it.

The age of the original Homo naledi remains from the Dinaledi Chamber has been revealed to be startlingly young in age. Homo naledi, which was first announced in September 2015, was alive sometime between 335 and 236 thousand years ago. This places this population of primitive small-brained hominins at a time and place that it is likely they lived alongside Homo sapiens. This is the first time that it has been demonstrated that another species of hominin survived alongside the first humans in Africa.

 

You could also read what South African science writer Sarah Wild, wrote about it in the journal Nature. 

 

 

Small-brained early human lived more recently than expected

John Hawks/Wits Univ. An early human species with a curious mix of archaic and modern features lived in South Africa just a few hundred thousand years ago, researchers have found. Dubbed Homo naledi, the species had a small, fist-sized brain similar to that of ancient hominin species that lived millions of years earlier.

This article in New Scientist provides some perspective on the importance and relevance of this week’s revelations.

Homo naledi is only 250,000 years old – here’s why that matters

In 2013, Lee Berger at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and his colleagues made an extraordinary discovery – deep inside a South African cave system they found thousands of bones belonging to a brand new species of early human – and now we finally may know when this species lived and how it fits into our evolutionary tree.

Jy kan ook daaroor lees hier in Afrikaans, in berigte deur Elsabe Brits vir Media24.

‘Fossielvonds kan mense help verenig’

Die nuwe fossielvonds van Wits is “uiters belangrik in die politieke klimaat in ‘n wêreld waarin populistiese regse politiek aan die toeneem is”, omdat ons toekoms in ons gedeelde herkoms lê. So het prof. Adam Habib, rektor van die Universiteit van die Witwatersrand, by die aankondiging van die nuwe Homo naledi-fossielvonds gesê.

 

 

Watch the announcement here:

 

[WATCH] Discovery finds Homo Naledi dates back 236,000 years

Scientists have announced the discovery of a new Homo naledi skeleton, Neo, & a new chamber in the Rising Star cave system. The chamber has been named Lesedi & it’s similar in shape to the Dinaledi chamber in which the first Homo Naledi fossils were found.

Skedel sê: ‘Ons was nie alleen’

Afrika se rykste fossielterrein het nog ‘n versteekte grotkamer met 131 fossiele van Homo naledi opgelewer en die lang verwagte ouderdom van dié spesie is ook pas bekend gemaak. Die Homo naledi-fossiele is tussen 335 000 en 236 000 jaar oud – jonk genoeg dat hulle saam met die vroeë moderne mense in Suid-Afrika op die grasvlaktes gewandel het.

 

For those really interested in the full details, there’s good news. All the research has been published in the open access journal, eLife Sciences. Follow this link.

 

 

Engela Duvenage

Co-founder of SciBraai.co.za. Day job: Science writer and science communicator who loves turning research papers into news stories. And writing about cookies and writers if I get the chance. Claim to fame: mother of two daughters. Background: MPhil (Journalism, specialising in science journalism) and HonsBA (Psychology). Disclaimer: Before starting a freelancing career I worked for Stellenbosch University, so please excuse my inability not to write about some of its people and projects. Ditto for other clients I have worked for.

More Posts

Follow Me:
Twitter