Second Cave Chamber Reveals Spectacular New Homo Naledi Skull and More

The first fossils of Homo naledi, discovered in 2013 and described as a new species of hominin in 2015, have just been dated to coming from only 236,000 to 335,000 years ago—close to the origins of our own species. (Read: Did This Mysterious Ape-Human Once Live Alongside Our Ancestors?)

What does it mean for prevailing models of the human family tree? And what about the contentious idea that they intentionally disposed of their dead deep in caves?

New papers published today in ELife by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger and team shed new light on this mysterious member of our family. They also reveal that a second chamber contains the remains of at least three more individuals, including the most complete Homo naledi skull yet found (seen above).

Dig in to the discovery for yourself with the open-access papers, complete with photos of the fossils, cave diagrams, and more detailed information to sink your own perfectly adapted teeth into:

The age of Homo naledi and associated sediments in the Rising Star Cave, South Africa

New fossil remains of Homo naledi from the Lesedi Chamber, South Africa

Homo naledi and Pleistocene hominin evolution in subequatorial Africa

 

 

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Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of nationalgeographic.com for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.