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New species unveiled in SA

30 September 2015 No Comment

In a ground-breaking discovery, a new species of human ancestor has been unearthed at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site.
Details of the significant fossil discovery called Homo naledi have been kept secret for years and were unveiled at Maropeng, in the Cradle of Humankind.
The discovery of a new species of human relative was announced by the University of the Witwatersrand, the National Geographic Society, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF).
The ground-breaking discovery, which began in November 2013 and included fossils of infants, children, adults and older people, will help the world better understand how humans evolved.
This marks the largest assembly of fossils of human ancestry discovered.
The world heritage site, which includes the famous Sterkfontein caves, has boasted several discoveries that illuminate the evolution of humans.
According to the massive team of international and local scientists led by Professors Lee Berger, Paul Dirks and John Hawks involved in this project, this major discovery “will force the world to re-think what it means to be human”.
Scientists from around the world began arriving in South Africa on Monday and today joined ministers and other guests for the big reveal.
Homo naledi is a bit smaller and a lot older than people, with curved fingers and a small skull, but in some ways the species is also strikingly similar to humankind.
Research shows the average Homo naledi was 1.5 metres tall and weighed about 45kg. Homo naledi has a brain the size of an orange and a slender body.
Homo naledi is named after the chamber in which it was discovered, deep in the Rising Star caves.
The remote underground room has been dubbed the Dinaledi Chamber (‘Chamber of Stars’ in SeSotho). – SAnews.gov.za

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