Sorry creationists, but scientists have found an entirely new species of human

Steve Connor (edited@ev_bartlett
Thursday 10 September 2015 11:30
news

Meet Homo naledi.

This is the new species of human found ritually buried deep underground in a South African cave.

Scientists found the fossilised bones of at least 15 individuals thought to have been buried up to hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • They were small (no bigger than 5ft tall and 7 stones in weight)

  • They were similar to us, with feet for long-distance walking

  • But they also had ape-like characteristics such as narrow shoulders and curved fingers for climbing

  • Despite only having a brain the size of the orange, they practised ritual burial, a clear hallmark of being human

  • Thousands of fossils were found, suggesting deliberate burial over many years

Scientists believe the skeletons represent a new species within the Homo genus.

Tracy Kivell of the University of Kent, and part of the research team, said:

The hands suggest tool-using capabilities. Surprisingly, H. naledi has extremely curved fingers, more curved than almost any other species of early hominins, which clearly demonstrates climbing abilities.

Professor Lee Berger of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and expedition leader added:

With almost every bone in the body represented multiple times, Homo naledi is already practically the best-known member of our lineage.

The combination of anatomical features in H. naledi distinguishes it from any previous known species.

Studies relating to H. naledi were published online in eLife today.

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