Hominin: Family Tree Grows a New Branch
ESF Top 10 New Species of 2016SHARE:
About the Hominin
Name: Homo naledi
Location: South Africa
How it made the Top 10: Fossil remains of this previously unknown species of the genus Homo represent at least 15 different individuals, the largest collection of remains of a single species of hominin ever discovered on the African continent. Anatomical features of this new hominin found in South Africa are a mixture of those of Australopithecus with other Homo species, combined with several features not known in any hominin species. Features shared with other Homo species include complex functional locomotion, manipulation and mastication systems. Similar in size and weight to a modern human, and with humanlike hands and feet, the new species has a braincase more similar in size to earlier ancestors living 2 million to 4 million years ago, as well as shoulders, pelvis, and ribcage more closely resembling earlier hominins than modern humans. The exact age of the remains, once determined, will have implications for the early history of our genus.
Size: Similar in size to a small modern human, 144.5 to 147.8 cm (just under 5 feet)
Etymology: The word naledi means "star" in the Sotho language and refers to the Dinaledi Chamber's location within the Rising Star cave system.
Type locality: South Africa, Gauteng Province, Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, Rising Star cave system, Dinaledi chamber
Holotype: Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
More information: Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa. eLife 2015. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.09560