New species of human relative discovered in South African cave


The discovery of a new species of human relative was announced last week (Sept. 10) by the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University), the National Geographic Society and the South African Department of Science and Technology/ National Research Foundation (DST/NRF). Besides shedding light on the origins and diversity of our genus, the new species, Homo naledi, appears to have intentionally deposited bodies of its dead in a remote cave chamber, a behaviour previously thought limited to humans.


The finds are described in two papers published in the scientific journal eLife and reported in the cover story of the October issue of National Geographic magazine and a NOVA/National Geographic Special (#NalediFossils). An international team of scientists took part in the research.

Selected media coverage

National Georgraphic: This Face Changes the Human Story. But how?
BBC: New human-like species discovered in S Africa
Nature: Crowdsourcing digs up an early human species
Science: New human scpecies discoverd
The Guardian: Homo naledi: new species of ancient human discovered, claim scientists
The Atlantic: 6 Tiny Cavers, 15 Odd Skeletons, and 1 Amazing New Species of Ancient Human

Media contact

Zoe Dunford, eLife
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