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Homo naledi - highlights from the paper published on eLife

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The technical abstract from the Homo naledi paper, with a little background around this exciting find.

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Homo naledi - highlights from the paper published on eLife

  1. 1. Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, SA Published in the open access journal eLife on 10 September 2015
  2. 2. Lee R Berger, John Hawks, Darryl J de Ruiter, Steven E Churchill, Peter Schmid, Lucas K Delezene, Tracy L Kivell, Heather M Garvin, Scott A Williams, Jeremy M DeSilva, Matthew M Skinner, Charles M Musiba, Noel Cameron, Trenton W Holliday, William Harcourt-Smith, Rebecca R Ackermann, Markus Bastir, Barry Bogin, Debra Bolter, Juliet Brophy, Zachary D Cofran, Kimberly A Congdon, Andrew S Deane, Mana Dembo, Michelle Drapeau, Marina C Elliott, Elen M Feuerriegel, Daniel Garcia-Martinez, David J Green, Alia Gurtov, Joel D Irish, Ashley Kruger, Myra F Laird, Damiano Marchi, Marc R Meyer, Shahed Nalla, Enquye W Negash, Caley M Orr, Davorka Radovcic, Lauren Schroeder, Jill E Scott, Zachary Throckmorton, Matthew W Tocheri, Caroline VanSickle, Christopher S Walker, Pianpian Wei, Bernhard Zipfel. Authors 47 named authors, led by Lee Berger
  3. 3. Homo naledi is a previously-unknown species of extinct hominin discovered within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. Abstract
  4. 4. This species is characterized by body mass and stature similar to small- bodied human populations but a small endocranial volume similar to australopiths. Abstract
  5. 5. Cranial morphology of H. naledi is unique, but most similar to early Homo species including Homo erectus, Homo habilis or Homo rudolfensis. Abstract Homo sapiens
  6. 6. While primitive, the dentition is generally small and simple in occlusal morphology.Abstract
  7. 7. H. Naledi has humanlike manipulatory adaptations of the hand and wrist. Abstract Modern Human Hand H. naledi
  8. 8. It also exhibits a humanlike foot and lower limb. Abstract Modern Human Foot
  9. 9. These humanlike aspects are contrasted in the postcrania with a more primitive or australopith-like trunk, shoulder, pelvis and proximal femur.Abstract
  10. 10. Representing at least 15 individuals with most skeletal elements repeated multiple times, this is the largest assemblage of a single species of hominins yet discovered in Africa. Abstract
  11. 11. Process October 7th 2013 – diggers wanted, must have Masters or PhD in palaeontology, must be skinny and preferably small, climbing experience would be a bonus…
  12. 12. Process An all-woman team was selected for the excavations.
  13. 13. Process Infrastructure included over 2 miles of communication and power cables into the fossil chamber. The women worked two-hour shifts in teams of three.
  14. 14. Process Lee Berger and his team in the above-ground command centre
  15. 15. 60 Scientists were recruited to process and catalogue the Homo naledi fossils, over a period of 6 weeks Process
  16. 16. Sophisticated computer programmes were used to scan every fossil, and virtual reconstruction was used to fill in gaps, particularly in the skulls  NextEngine laser surface scanner  ScanStudio HD Pro software  GeoMagic Studio 14.0 to create a final three-dimensional model of the specimen Process
  17. 17. How old is Homo naledi? Process Fossils were found in sand not rock, so they can’t easily be dated without destroying material. If it’s 2 – 3 million years old, then H. naledi could be the root of the Homo family tree. If it’s young, say 10,000 to 100,000 years, then we would have a new species that lived concurrently with ours. No matter what the age, it will have tremendous impact“ ”No matter what the age, it will have tremendous impact
  18. 18. Unlike any other fossil hominin site in Africa, the Dinaledi Chamber seems to preserve a large number of individuals from a single population, one with variation equal to or less than that found within local populations of modern humans. Highlights
  19. 19. Intentional burial? Access to light? These are the healthiest dead individuals you’ll ever see – no tooth marks, no flood sediment.Highlights
  20. 20. William Jungers: Intentional corpse disposal is a nice sound bite, but more spin than substance The suggestion that modern humans learned anything from these pin heads is funny Controversy “ ” Lee Berger: If you aren’t creating controversy and changing the fundamental ways, then perhaps you’re not pushing the boundaries of science “ ” “ ”
  21. 21. “Lucy” Australopithecus Homo naledi “Turkana Boy” Homo erectus Welcome back in Africa, H. naledi We’re pleased to meet you and look forward to getting to know you!