New species of mankind is discovered in South Africa

New species of mankind is discovered in South Africa

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Researchers found bones from at least 15 hominids. She was baptized 'Homo naledi'and classified within the genre Homo.

A group of researchers presented on September 10, 2015 in South Africa the fossil remnants of a primate that may be of a species unknown to date.

The creature was found in the cave known as Rising Star, 50 km northeast of Johannesburg, where the bones of 15 hominids were exhumed. The primate was named after Homo naledi. In Sotho language, "naledi" means star, and Homo is the same genre to which modern humans belong.

Reconstruction shows what the face of 'Homo naledi'as the new species identified from bones found in South Africa was named

The fossils were found in a deep, hard-to-reach area of ​​the cave, in the archaeological area known as the "Cradle of Humanity," a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Because it is located in a sedimentary deposit where geological layers mix in complex ways, scientists have yet to date the discovered primate, which could be anywhere from 100,000 to 4 million years old.

"I am happy to introduce a new species of the human ancestor," Lee Berger, a researcher at Johannesburg's Witwatersrand University, told a news conference in Moropeng, where the "Cradle of Humanity" is located.

Professor Lee Berger holds a skull replica of the 'Homo naledi', new hominid species discovered in South Africa

"Some aspects of Homo naledi, such as his hands, wrists, and feet, are very close to those of modern man. At the same time, his small brain and upper body shape are closer to those of a pre- human called australopithecus "

Chris Stringer,
London Natural History Museum

In 2013 and 2014, scientists found over 1,550 bones that belonged to at least 15 individuals, including babies, young adults, and older people. They all had a homogeneous morphology and belonged to a "new species of mankind that was unknown until then."

The London Natural History Museum called the discovery extraordinary.

"Some aspects of Homo naledi, how his hands, his fists and his feet are very close to those of modern man. At the same time, his small brain and upper body shape are closer to those of a prehuman group called the australopithecus, "said Chris Stringer, a researcher at the London Natural History Museum, who wrote an article on the subject. accompanying Berger's study, published in the scientific journal eLife.

The discovery may allow a better understanding of the transition millions of years ago between the early australopithecine and the homo primate, our direct ancestor.

If it is very old, over 3 million years old, the species would have lived with the australopithecines, prior to the genus homo. If it is newer, less than 1 million years old, it may have coexisted with Neanderthals - cousins ​​closest to the Homo sapiens - or even with modern humans.

The work leading up to the discovery was sponsored by the US National Geographic Society and the South African National Research Foundation.

Photo from National Geographic magazine shows bones collected by researchers in South Africa that were identified as being from a new species of mankind.