New Human Ancestor Discovered in South Africa

Within a deep and narrow cave in South Africa, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger and his team found fossil remains belonging to the newest member of our human family. The Homo naledi discovery adds another exciting chapter to the human evolution story by introducing an ancestor that was primitive but shared physical characteristics with modern humans.


Because the cave system where the bones were located was extremely difficult to access, it could be speculated that these hominins practiced a behavior previously believed to be modern: that of deliberately disposing of their dead underground.

Click here to read more about the Homo naledi discovery:

A NOVA/National Geographic special, “Dawn of Humanity,” premieres Sept. 16, 2015, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on PBS in the U.S:

Learn more about National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger:

The finds are described in two papers published in the journal eLife:

VIDEOGRAPHERS: Bryan Root and Hans Weise
EDITOR: Jennifer Murphy
ART: Stefan Fichtel


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