A New Addition to the Human Family Tree Is Surprisingly Young

Photo: John Hawks. Homo naledi has much in common with early forms of the genus Homo. On this episode, Adam and Ryan dive into the complexities of our ever evolving human family. How we understand our ancient ancestors, cousins, and ape family has the potential to impact our understanding of what it means to be human and how we are still changing. The new and exciting data we dive into this episode is all about Homo Naledi, perhaps the most recent addition to our family. As of the day we recorded this episode, April 25th, the first concrete date range for the species was publicized but stay tuned for further developments. This means we need to re-evaluate our genus once again and think about the complexities of dating our ancestors. Granted, this article came out slightly before the new dating was announced and concludes that human emotions likely developed earlier than thought… not the case now, but it is fun to think that our cousins have cool feelings too.

Dating your Ancestors is Complicated: The Strange Case of Homo Naledi

A recent paper published in the journal eLife shows that this new species lived between , and , years ago in South Africa. Yesterday 9th of May , the journal eLife published the results of a multidisciplinary dating work revealing for the first time that Homo naledi lived between , and , years ago in South Africa. Based on the combination of a wide range of methods such as Luminescence, Palaeomagnetism, Electronic Spin Resonance ESR and Uranium-Thorium Series, this work enables for the first time to obtain a reliable date for this new species discovered and published by the paleoanthropologist Lee R.

Berger and his team in This new scientific study led by Prof.

Created 12/11/ at Modified 12/11/ at WITS:Dinaledi:U.W. , Homo naledi. Created 9/8/ at Modified 9/15/ at

The newly discovered species, Homo naledi, is believed to have lived alongside early humans known as Homo sapiens. The latest specimens include remains of two adults and a child. One of the adults’ skull is reportedly complete. The new discovery comes barely a year and and a half after scientists announced in South Africa the discovery of the richest fossil hominin site on the continent, unveiling a new species named Homo naledi.

Although they had primitive small-brains, an extensive dating process has found that the Homo naledi species were alive as early as , years ago. Professor Paul Dirks of James Cook University said in a statement that dating the existence of these Homo naledi was extremely challenging. With 19 other scientists from laboratories and institutions around the world, he managed to date it to a period known as the late Middle Pleistocene.

Two years ago, researchers found that Homo naledi people had deliberately disposed of their dead in a private chamber in caves, a behavior which until now was thought to be exclusive to modern humans.

Project: Rising Star

DOI: New ages for flowstone, sediments and fossil bones from the Dinaledi Chamber are presented. We combined optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediments with U-Th and palaeomagnetic analyses of flowstones to establish that all sediments containing Homo naledi fossils can be allocated to a single stratigraphic entity sub-unit 3b , interpreted to be deposited between ka and ka.

This result has been confirmed independently by dating three H.

It was first believed these remains were about three million years old but research has dated them to between , and , years old, a.

It was an almost unimaginable bonanza, one of the richest assemblages of human fossils ever found, recovered from a chamber deep inside an underground cave system near Johannesburg called Rising Star. From it, the team was able to deduce the bones belonged to a new species, Homo naledi, which had a curious mix of primitive traits, such as a tiny brain, and modern features, including long legs. They determined it was a capable climber, a long-distance walker, a probable toolmaker.

And they suggested this peculiar cousin of ours might have taken great pains to dispose of its dead in the pitch-dark, hard to reach recesses of Rising Star. Yet for all that the team was able to glean from the bones, the discovery is perhaps best known for what the researchers could not ascertain: its age. But its modern traits, along with the condition of the bones, which seemed to be only barely fossilized, hinted that H.

Depending on the age, the bones would have different implications for understanding how Homo evolved. Now that long-awaited piece of the puzzle has finally fallen into place. In a paper published today in eLife , the team reports it has dated the remains of H. And their age, it turns out, is decidedly young. The researchers also announced the discovery of yet more fossils of H. The findings raise intriguing questions about the origin and evolution of Homo.

“Cradle of Humankind” fossils can now be dated

Mellon Foundation. These fossils were recently reported by Lee Berger and his team, who described the discovery of more than fossils as representing a new species of the genus Homo. It has been called Homo naledi, associated with a name for star in the Sesotho language.

A recent study focused on dating the remains of H. naledi has produced new clues to the role the species played in human evolution.

One of the new Homo naledi skulls unearthed by Hawks, Berger, and their colleagues. The materials were found deep in a South African cave system in , adding H. Last year, scientists performed phylogenetic analyses that pegged the age of the H. Since then, the scientists who originally unearthed the fossils have suggested that the remains could be hundreds of thousands of years younger. The findings suggest that H. They also throw a wrench into theories that modern humans alone left behind a rich record of stone tools in Africa as their large brains developed new technologies and techniques for making a living in a harsh environment.

Two other papers, on which Berger is also a coauthor, published in eLife today add to the evolving picture of H. One presents new H. And the other is a think-piece that reimagines hominin evolution in southern Africa in light of the new findings on H. Berger told Science News that he plans on continuing excavations at the Rising Star cave system, where he hopes to find more fossils, tools, and signs of long-extinguished fires used by human ancestors.

Now, those more recent estimations have been supported by Related Articles.

Dating the Dinaledi Chamber

This newest member of our genus has once again confounded the evolutionary history of the Homo lineage. The most exciting aspect is the nature of the remains suggests that they were intentionally deposited in the deep cavern where they were discovered. Attempts at dating the remains have not been successful. However, Thackeray has estimated that the species may date to 2. It appears that the majority of researchers agree that the remains reflect a new hominin see references this section, especially Randolph-Quinney Like most hominins, the phylogeny of the species is unknown but it likely descended from an australopith ancestry.

The dating of H. naledi is fraught with uncertainty partly because he doesn’t fit conveniently into the picture of an ever evolving human species. His relatively.

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and to show you personalised advertising. To find out more, read our privacy policy and cookie policy. Efforts to date Homo naledi fossils have produced an unexpected result; the early human species lived much more recently than scientists had thought. Homo naledi fossils were discovered in the Rising Star cave system in South Africa in While the fossils shared some anatomical features with modern humans such as the shape of their wrist bones , other features such as the small size of the skull had more in common with some of the earliest members of the Homo genus, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, who lived close to two million years ago.

While the mix of primitive and modern features made it hard to place in the evolutionary timeline, the most common theory was that Homo naledi probably lived perhaps one to two million years ago. However, a large international team of researchers has now dated those fossils, and the results show that Homo naledi was most likely alive sometime between , and , years ago. The finding means Homo naledi was alive at the same time as Homo sapiens — modern humans — first appeared.

This type of hominin was thought to be completely extinct by , years ago when you start seeing in Africa modern humans. Left: The skull of an archaic human next to the ”Neo” skull of Homo naledi.

Anthropologists involved in Homo naledi discovery and dating project

We’re open! Book your free ticket in advance. In , a bounty of fossils was discovered deep in a South African cave. They were identified as a new human species with a surprising combination of features. Human evolution expert Prof Chris Stringer outlines some of the mysteries and contradictions presented by Homo naledi , and the fascinating possibilities it raises.

Yet more remains are presented of the extraordinary naledi people who By dating the site, researchers have sought to clear up some of the.

Adam Rutherford reports on new dating evidence that suggests a new species of human, Homo naledi, was living in South Africa between , and , years ago. Controversy has followed the remains of a new species of human, Homo naledi, since it was described in Buried deep in a South African cave, its primitive features led scientists to believe it was up to three million years old.

This week it’s been revealed that this estimate was wrong. New dating evidence suggests the skeletons are only to years old and that means they may have lived alongside other homo species. Previously, humans were thought to have travelled to America via a land bridge between eastern Siberia and modern day Alaska, somewhere between 17 – 40 years ago when sea levels were lower than they are today. Researchers from the San Diego Natural History Museum now present evidence that suggests this transition could have been much earlier – nearly years earlier.

Adam talked to Chris Stringer, researcher in human evolution at the Natural History Museum in London, to unpick the evidence. Dark matter is a mystery that has evaded scientists for decades. Now the biggest and most sensitive detector is being built in South Dakota and scientists believe the Lux-Zeppelin experiment will soon be able to detect one of the candidates for dark matter, the elusive particle known as a weakly interacting massive particle WIMP.

Graihagh Jackson got a sneak peak of the key components, including the ‘eyes’ of the detector, before they’re sent off for installation. Adam Rutherford talks to cosmologist Carlos Frenk from the University of Durham and learns of an alternative theory to describe this mysterious dark matter – a whole new dark sector. This sector contains a vast range of different dark particles, from photons to bosons, that could interact with normal particles.

“Neo” Homo naledi lived alongside humans?