New Species Unearthed in the Human Lineage

Skeletal fossils of Homo naledi are pictured in the Wits bone vault at the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sept. 13, 2014. The fossils are among nearly 1,700 bones and teeth retrieved from a nearly inaccessible cave near Johannesburg. The fossil trove was created, scientists believe, by Homo naledi repeatedly secreting the bodies of their dead companions in the cave. Analysis of the fossils -- part of a project known as the Rising Star Expedition -- was led in part by paleoanthropologist John Hawks, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (Photo by John Hawks/University of Wisconsin-Madison)
(Photo by John Hawks/University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Exciting news today in the genus Homo: a new hominin species, dubbed Homo naledi has been discovered in South Africa! A team led by Lee Berger recently retrieved the largest and most complete assemblage of hominin bones ever found in Africa. The bones were discovered in a part of the World Heritage site called “The Cradle of Mankind,” the same system where A. africanus was first discovered.

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