Scientists Identify New Species of Extinct Human Ancestor

Scientists Identify New Species of Extinct Human Ancestor

New Species of Extinct Human Ancestor- Scientists have recently discovered an extinct human ancestor that lived more than 2 million years ago, thanks to research done on ancient fossils found in South Africa.

Scientists Identify New Species of Extinct Human Ancestor

Homo naledi, the new species named after Homo erectus and Homo habilis, lived alongside other early human ancestors such as Homo erectus and Homo habilis. However, Homo naledi stands out due to its combination of human-like and ape-like features.

The discovery of Homo naledi is significant because it offers insight into the complex evolution of early humans. Unfortunately, fossil records for early human ancestors tend to be fragmentary, leaving us with only partial descriptions. With the discovery of nearly complete fossilized bones from Homo naledi, however, we now have an unparalleled chance to study its anatomy and behavior closely.

One of the most remarkable characteristics of Homo naledi is its small brain size, which resembles that of early human ancestors who lived more than 3 million years ago. This suggests that brain size may not have been the main force in human evolution as previously believed; rather, other factors like tool use, social behavior and ecological influences had more of an effect.

The discovery of Homo naledi raises new questions about the origins of the Homo genus. Based on its age, fossil evidence suggests it lived around the same time as some of the earliest members, refuting the popular view that it originated in East Africa and spread from there.

In conclusion, the discovery of Homo naledi as an extinct human ancestor marks a landmark in the study of early human evolution. With its unique combination of human-like and ape-like features, this discovery sheds new light on the intricate history of early humans. Additionally, further research and exploration are necessary in paleoanthropology in order to gain further insights into our evolutionary past.

The discovery of Homo naledi marked a landmark in paleoanthropology, and researchers continue to uncover new details about this long-extinct species of human ancestor.

One of the most captivating facts about Homo naledi is the discovery of multiple individuals in a remote chamber within Rising Star cave system in South Africa. This discovery was made possible thanks to scientists led by Lee R. Berger who recruited an experienced team of spelunkers to access and recover fossils from this chamber.

In total, the team recovered over 1,500 fossil elements from the chamber – representing at least 15 individuals. These bones displayed remarkable preservation, with many still articulated and in their anatomical positions.

Homo naledi’s morphology is fascinating, as it displays both primitive and derived features. For instance, its pelvis resembles Australopithecus – an earlier human ancestor – while its skull and teeth bear more similarities to Homo as a species.

Paleoanthropologists are still debating the age of Homo naledi’s fossils and its place within human evolution. Initial estimates put its age around 2.8 million years, however recent analyses suggest a more recent estimate of 250,000 to 300,000 years – placing Homo naledi alongside other extinct human species such as Homo erectus and Sapiens.

The discovery of Homo naledi has had far-reaching repercussions for paleoanthropology. Thanks to its remarkable level of preservation, researchers can study the anatomy and behavior of an extinct human ancestor in unprecedented depth. For instance, evidence from Homo naledi’s hands and feet suggest they were capable of both tree climbing and walking upright on two legs, suggesting a complex lifestyle with great adaptability.

Overall, the discovery of Homo naledi has provided new insights into the intricate evolution of early humans and opened up a range of research possibilities in paleoanthropology.


  • Lee R. Berger et al. “Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa.” eLife, 2015.
  • John Hawks et al. “New fossil remains of Homo naledi from the Lesedi Chamber, South Africa.” eLife, 2017.

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