Homo naledi could have used tools

2015-09-10 08:59

Homo naledi's hands suggest tool-using capabilities, with extremely curved fingers, more curved than almost any other species of early hominin, which demonstrates climbing capabilities.

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Last Updated at 06:46
10 Sep 13:24
National Geographic has done a great in-depth feature on Homo naledi.

10 Sep 12:57

Berger's conclusion that the cave was a burial chamber was also met with great scepticism by others in the field.

William Jungers, an anthropologist at the Stony Brook School of Medicine in New York "seems like a stretch to me".

Professor John Hawks, a member of Berger's team, told The Guardian that the evidence they found does not suggest they entered the chamber one at a time.


10 Sep 12:51

Some scientists have cast doubt on the team's find. Christoph Zollikofer, an anthropologist at the University of Zurich, told The Guardian that many of the bone characteristics used to claim naledi as a new species are seen in more primitive animals, and by definition cannot be used to define a new species.

Zollikofer said the few supposedly unique features that potentially define naledi need further scrutiny, as they may represent individual variation, or variation at the population level.


10 Sep 12:42

The fact that the fossils were found in a room deep underground, practically alone, in the absence of any other major fossil animals, suggests the possibility of a form of ritualised behaviour previously thought to be unique to humans.

It seems like the bodies were carried into the chamber, suggesting an understanding of death.


10 Sep 12:39

Homo naledi had a tiny brain, about the size of an orange, and a slender body, was about 1.5 metres tall and weighed about 45 kilograms.

Its teeth are similar to the earliest-known members of our genus, such Homo habilis, but the shoulders are more similar to those of apes.

The hands suggest tool-using capabilities, with extremely curved fingers, more curved than almost any other species of early hominin, which demonstrates climbing capabilities.


10 Sep 12:23
That was quick...

BREAKING: New human species found!

Posted by Jerm on Thursday, 10 September 2015

10 Sep 12:19
Homo naledi should be about 2.5 million to 3 million years old but scientists don't know for sure, says Lee Berger.

10 Sep 12:03

10 Sep 11:57

10 Sep 11:52
Prof Lee Berger says the group will try to extract DNA. Watch this space, he says.

10 Sep 11:37
Naledi took a small step into the chamber, but for us it is a giant step to understanding who we are - Ramaphosa

10 Sep 11:30

LB said the remains were so close to one of the most excavated sites in the world, and no one discovered them until now.

LB - we can tell that Naledi comes from "deep time".

Homo naledi is it'about 2.5 to 2.8 million years old but other scientists say that they are still working to determine the age of the fossils.


10 Sep 11:26
This gives an idea of how the explorers got to the fossil site.

10 Sep 11:09
That has led us to the rather remarkable conclusion that we have met a new species that has disposed of it dead - LB

10 Sep 11:02
Prof Paul Dirks speaks of the geology of the chamber where the fossils were found. There has been no sign of fighting with the bones. No evidence of bite marks by carnivores on the bones, says Dirks.

10 Sep 10:57
The cover of the new National Geographic.

10 Sep 10:54
The mysteries around this discovery will engage us for decades to come - Hawks

10 Sep 10:52
The hands are more humanlike than Australopithecus. Their hips are like those of the famous Lucy skeleton.

10 Sep 10:51
It was clear the legs and feet were used for long distance walking, says Professor John Hawks.

10 Sep 10:47
Homo naledi is an extraordinary species. We have found more than 15 people of all ages.

10 Sep 10:45
I am pleased to introduce you to a new species of human ancestor. We have called it the homo naledi - LB

10 Sep 10:44
Burger- contrary to what many people believes, bones do not speak for themselves.

10 Sep 10:39
We had gone into that cave with the idea of recovering one fossil - led to the discovery of multiple skeleton. Largest assemblage of fossil relatives ever discovered in the history of South Africa.

10 Sep 10:38
LB calls people in his team as "underground astronauts".

10 Sep 10:37
LB: It is a moment that was two years in the making - but 90 years of exploration here.

10 Sep 10:36
This is a big moment for us, two years in the making... - Berger (LB)

10 Sep 10:36
Prof Lee Berger about to make the big announcement...

10 Sep 10:34
We are not the only ones who able to bury our dead - CP

10 Sep 10:34

Today we unearth our past. We also unearth knowledge of our present - CP

Photo by News24 reporter Ahmed Areff.


10 Sep 10:30
Lee Burger told us how they went about finding people to go into that small place.

10 Sep 10:30
CP: When Maropeng opened 10 years ago we never imagined a new hominin species would be found so close by.

10 Sep 10:27
We did not imagine then that a new species would be unearthed that would tell us more about our history than ever before - CP

10 Sep 10:26
CP: This discovery will help us tell the story of our common history.

10 Sep 10:25
We expect that it will catch the imagination and stimulate the interest of people around the globe, says CP.

10 Sep 10:25
The discovery of the new species of hominid... Will probably tell us about our future as well, says Ramaphosa (CP). It will inspire poets and writers, he says.

10 Sep 10:23
Ramaphosa addressing audience now.

10 Sep 10:22
Habib - what we did is we pioneered a practice of science for the 21st century.

10 Sep 10:18
It will make a momentous impact... Globally, says Habib.

10 Sep 10:16
Wits vice chancellor Adam Habib up now.

10 Sep 10:13

Chief science and exploration officer at National Geographic Terry Garcia speaking now.

He says: Two years ago I received a phone call, it was from Lee Berger. He told me I have made a significant find and I want you to support it. It is moments like today that make it all worth it.


10 Sep 10:12
These fossils will be on display at the Maropeng visitors' centre for the next month so members of the public can view them.

10 Sep 10:10
First Hominin fossils was discovered in 1924 in Cradle of Humankind.

10 Sep 10:05
We celebrate this discovery.. Because it is a remarkable milestone for SA and Gauteng - Maile

10 Sep 10:03
Acting Premier Lebogang Maile introduced.

10 Sep 10:00
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has arrived and taken the stage.

10 Sep 09:36
Reporter Alex Eliseev tweets - Prof John Hawks from the US: This is the most exciting thing I have ever seen in my career.

10 Sep 09:33

10 Sep 09:11
The cavers, all of them women of slight build, needed to fit through an 18cm wide hole and climb down a12m vertical passage to get to the fossils.

10 Sep 09:01

10 Sep 09:01

The world heritage site, which includes the famous Sterkfontein caves, has boasted several discoveries that illuminate the evolution of humans.

Three of the most significant discoveries made at the Cradle of Humankind include Mrs Ples, the most complete skull of an Australopithecus africanus, Little Foot, four foot bones belonging to an Australopithecus, and  the Taung Child, the skull of an Australopithecus africanus.

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