New Human-Like Species Discovered In South Africa
NAN – South African anthropologists have announced a “groundbreaking fossil discovery of international importance” at the so-called Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg.
The disclosure was made public on Thursday, September 10, 2015 in Cape Town to top dignitaries, which include Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The world heritage site is the same place where the skull of Mrs Ples was discovered last century.
The discovery of the Australopithecus africanus in the Sterkfontein caves in 1947 was one of the most dramatic fossil finds in history.
Researchers and scientists said the new discovery is a new human-like species in a burial chamber deep in the famous caves.
They said the 15 partial skeletons made up of 1,550 separate parts were unearthed during a mammoth excavation project which began in November 2013.
The experts said the fossil, largest single discovery of its type in Africa, was funded by the Department of Science and Technology as well as the National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence at the University of the Witwatersrand.
They disclosed that the species, which has been named Naledi, meaning “star” in the local Sesotho language, is classified in the Homo sapiens category to which modern humans belong.
They said the creatures had a small brain, pelvis and shoulders, the shape of the skull, teeth, legs and feet separated them from earlier apes.
It is believed the species lived in and around the caves about three million years ago and were approximately 1.5 metres tall and weighed about 45 kilograms.