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The skeletal anatomy presents ancestral features known from australopithecines with more recent features associated with later hominins.
As of 10 September 2015 Homo naledi was formally described in September 2015 by a 47-member international team of authors led by South African paleoanthropologist Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand, who proposed that the bones represent a new Homo species.
Geologists estimate that the cave in which the fossils were discovered is no older than three million years.
Francis Thackeray, of the University of the Witwatersrand, suggested that H. habilis, species that existed around 1.5, 2.5, and 1.8 million years ago, respectively. (2017) announced a much more recent age range of between 335,000 and 236,000 years ago from dating fossil teeth, sediments encasing the fossils and overlying flowstone.
Analyses of excavated middle-ear bones called incus, show that morphologically and metrically, the tiny bones resemble those of chimpanzees, gorillas, and Paranthropus robustus more than they do later members of the genus Homo.
New York University anthropologist Susan Anton stated that even after dating, experts would likely spend many years striving to put these fossils in the proper context because there is no consensus in paleoanthropology about exactly how such comparisons are used to define the genus Homo.naledi lived 2 ± 0.5 million years ago, based on the skulls' similarities to H. They used a variety of dating techniques, including radiocarbon dating of teeth, optically stimulated luminescence of sediment, palaeomagnetic analysis of flowstone, and most conclusively, uranium-thorium dating of cave flowstone and teeth and electron spin resonance dating of teeth. naledi, combining more ancestral with more recently evolved features, might be the product of hybridization between different hominin lineages.The ability of such a small-brained hominin to survive for so long in the midst of more advanced members of Homo will require a revision of previous conceptions of human evolution.Other experts contend more analyses are needed to support this classification.
There are some indications that the hominin bodies may have been deliberately placed in the cave near the time of their death.In 2013, fossil skeletons were found in the Gauteng province of South Africa, in a chamber of the Rising Star Cave system, part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site about 50 km (31 mi) northwest of Johannesburg.