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64 MIN READ TIME

Big News on Homo naledi

In September of 2015, scientists at the University of Witwatersrand, led by Dr. Lee Berger, made a bombshell announcement. Not only had a new species of hominin been discovered, but the find contained more than 1500 fossils from at least 15 individuals. The remains were found all in one place, a deep dark cave in South Africa. This was, by far, the largest number of fossils ever found in one place in the history of paleoanthropology. In one fell swoop, Homo naledi went from being completely unknown to science to being one of the most fully described hominins ever. Although no age was given to the fossils at the time, speculation was rampant.

Over the last few months, the paleoanthropology community has been abuzz with rumors that more H. naledi fossils had been found and that the age of the fossils had been determined. On May 9th, a large team of scientists, again led by Berger, confirmed the rumors and made two big announcements regarding this enigmatic species. First, a second cave had been found harboring more H. naledi skeletal remains. That, and even more dramatically, the dating effort from the original fossil find revealed that the fossils are much younger than previously thought, a mere 300,000 years old.

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