The largest assemblage of fossil relatives ever discovered in the history of South Africa has been found at the Cradle of Humankind.The fossils were uncovered in a deep cave near the world renowned archaeological sites of Sterkfontein and Swartkrans.
So, to make it easier, this is what you need to know about H. naledi in nine fast facts:
1. H. naledi was initially discovered in 2013 in the Dinaledi Chamber at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Maropeng in Gauteng, South Africa.
2. H. naledi was named after the Rising Star cave. Naledi means “star” in Sesotho language.
3. H. naledi is a newly discovered species possessing a mixture of physical primitive and human-like characteristics indicating it could use tools and walk upright but also climbed and had a brain size associated to earlier hominin.
4. The average H. naledi had a small brain, weighed approximately 45 kilograms, was 1.5 metres in height, and – if it were female – would need to shop for the smallest shoes in the adult section.
5. To date, roughly 1,550 numbered fossil elements were found and are believed to represent at least 15 individuals, making it the single largest fossil hominin find yet made in Africa.
6. The location and nature of the find is significant because – after testing other theories – it appears that H. naledi intentionally deposited its dead in the remote chamber, the sort of behaviour previously thought to be limited to humans.
7. The expedition team said they encountered some of the most difficult and dangerous conditions ever in the search for human origins.
8. The entrance to the cave was so small a call had to be put out on social media for experienced scientists small enough to fit into the 18-centimetre opening. Six female “underground astronauts” were chosen from a global pool of candidates.
9. Interested parties could and still can follow the conversation and discoveries online using the hashtage #NalediFossils.
Source – Africa News Agency
Get 25% off your ticket to the Maropeng Visitor Centre to see the historic Naledi Fossils from 11 September 2015 to 11 October 2015. Book your ticket online here
Twitter humor as always: The discovery has also inspired the trending hashtag #WhatTheyFoundInMaropeng, with humourous results see below