This reconstruction of Homo naledi by paleoartist John Gurche was crafted from skull remains from the Rising Star cave system's Dinaledi and Lesedi Chambers. H. naledi had primitive skeletal features, but the face, skull, and teeth show enough modern features to justify its placement in the genus Homo.
- Naledi Fossils
Did This Mysterious Ape-Human Once Live Alongside Our Ancestors?
After adding Homo naledi to the human family tree, researchers reveal that the species is younger than it seems.
A year and a half after adding a puzzling new member to the human family tree, a team of researchers working in South Africa have offered an additional twist: the species is far younger than its bizarrely primitive body would suggest, and may have shared the landscape with early Homo sapiens.
First discovered in 2013 by two cavers exploring the Rising Star cave system near Johannesburg, a stunning trove of hominin remains—the single richest fossil site of its kind ever found in Africa—revealed a tiny-brained species with shoulders and a torso like an ape’s, but with some unshakably humanlike features as well. The mosaic’s name: Homo naledi, after the Sesotho word for “star.”
Now, the species’s star shines that much brighter.