Scientists have discovered our human ancestors Homo naledi from bones unearthed from the Rising Star cave located 30 miles northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa.
The researchers unearthed about 1,500 bones from Dinaledi Chamber of the cave back in 2013 through 2014. The palaeoanthropologists then discovered that the remains belong to our ancestors which they named as Homo naledi. The name “naledi” comes from Dinaledi chamber literally meaning “many stars,” according to Tech Insider.
In the study published in the journal eLife and National Geographic on Thursday, it is reported that the bone remains found in the cave belong to at least 15 individuals of different age groups. The breakthrough discovery is of great help in understanding the origin, growth and development of human species, reported The Economist.
Dr William Harcourt-Smith, a researcher with the paleontology division of the American Museum of Natural History and a professor of paleoanthropology at Lehman College, noted on the Dinaledi chamber that “It’s insane … some of the most difficult conditions ever for paleontologists to work in.”
The scientists are still unclear where Homo naledi fits into in the current taxonomy. The newly discovered species is reported to have a skull with a tiny brain, small teeth and an upper body that is suitable for climbing. Though the curved fingers suggest that they were helpful in climbing, the complex wrists and the thumb clearly indicate that the primitive humans had the ability to use tools.