New human species unveiled
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – A new species of human ancestor has been unearthed at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site at Maropeng.
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).
On Thursday, scientists from around the world joined ministers and other guests for the big reveal of Homo naledi.
“This major discovery will force the world to re-think what it means to be human,” said Professors Lee Berger, Paul Dirks and John Hawks, who led the massive team of international and local scientists involved in this project.
The species is 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.
It 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, meaning ‘Chamber of Stars’ in the local SeSotho.
– CAJ News
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