Lee Berger, a national geographic explorer-in-residence and a professor at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a team of scientists, has unearthed the fossils, consisting of infants, children, adults and elderly individual- including full skeletal parts, from a site They called it “Naledi,” which means, “star” in the Sotho language.
The group of archaeologist and paleontologists say the creatures looked like human- ape hybrid with teeth similar to the Homo genus but shoulders similar to apes. The braincase of the male skull of H. Nadeli measured less than half of the modern human skull. Researchers say the skull protected a small brain about the size of an average orange.
The Homo Naledi fossils were first discovered in South Africa at the Dinaledi chamber inside the Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind world heritage outside Johannesburg in 2013 by a pair of recreational cavers. Steven Tucker and Rick Hunter had their slim body to thank for the discovery. They had to overcome natural obstacles by passing through the superman’s crawl (because they had to hold one arm tightly to the body and the other extending above the head like Krypton’s man in flight) as they climbed a serrated wall of rock called the Dragons, to get back to the chamber inside the cave.
How old the fossils were, and when they got into the cave remains a mystery at the moment. Berger explained that there were no sign of been dragged by predators or trapped in the cave. They concluded that Homo Naledi was deliberately disposing its dead in the dark chamber. This is one thing special about this discovery. Until now burying of the dead is attributed to humans alone. The age would determine where Naledi would fall in the Homo family tree. “No matter what the age, it will have tremendous impact,” Berger enthused on the discovery.