Evolution and humans; a new hominin (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 10, 2015, 13:37 (802 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Thursday, September 10, 2015, 14:33

About 15 found in a cave in southern Africa:


"H. naledi is an unusual combination of the primitive and the modern, the scientists said. Its brain was no larger than a baseball; its shoulders and torso primitive; its fingers long and curved, allowing H. naledi to climb and swing from the trees. At the same time, H. naledi 's wrist bones indicated that it used tools. Its long legs and feet, nearly indistinguishable from those of modern man, allowed it not only to walk upright but also to travel for many miles at a time.

“'One of the most exciting things for us is we discovered something new in biology. We had never seen a creature like this before,” said John Hawks, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the lead scientist in the analysis, which included experts in primitive feet, teeth, hands and skulls. “H. naledi is unlike anything in our genus. .?.?. When you look at the anatomical elements across the body, it's an enormous assemblage of fossils. The task was to interpret these fossils and put them in the context of evolution and where they fit on the human tree.'”


"The age of the fossils will be difficult to determine, Berger says, because they were not fused into rock, which can be dated, and the researchers wanted to wait to do radiocarbon dating until they knew more about what they had. What he did say, with confidence, was that H. naledi “comes near or at the root of the genus Homo,” in excess of 2.5 million years ago."

Comment: Radiocarbon?

Another version of the story:


"Hawks and his colleagues describe the shoulders, chest, and pelvis of H. naledi as primitive in morphology, similar to Australopithecus and other early hominin species that existed up to 4 million years ago. H. naledi's cranial capacity is between 465 and 560 cubic centimeters, roughly a third of the brain size of modern humans and the smallest in the genus, the researchers wrote.

"However, other features of this new species appear more modern. H. naledi is similar in overall size and weight to small-bodied H. sapiens. Study coauthor Lee Berger of University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, told The Scientist: “the feet are practically indistinguishable from modern humans. This is a walker.'”

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