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: