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Member since: Thu Feb 19, 2009, 12:25 PM
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NATGEO: This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?

Scientists have discovered a new species of human ancestor deep in a South African cave, adding a baffling new branch to the family tree.



While primitive in some respects, the face, skull, and teeth show enough modern features to justify H. naledi's placement in the genus Homo. Artist Gurche spent some 700 hours reconstructing the head from bone scans, using bear fur for hair.

<snip>

“It was day three or four, and we still hadn’t found any fauna,” Elliott said. On the first day a few little bird bones had been found on the surface, but otherwise there was nothing but hominin bones.

That made for a mystery as perplexing as that of H. naledi’s identity: How did the remains get into such an absurdly remote chamber? Clearly the individuals weren’t living in the cave; there were no stone tools or remains of meals to suggest such occupation. Conceivably a group of H. naledi could have wandered into the cave one time and somehow got trapped—but the distribution of the bones seemed to indicate that they had been deposited over a long time, perhaps centuries... - National Geographic October 2015 issue


The hypothesis of this discovery is not just the discovery itself, but the way the fossil remains were presented; they were deliberately put there.

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