The first remains of Homo naledi were found by cavers con ber) deep within the Rising Interprete cave complex mediante South Africa’s Transvaal region. 8 million onesto 2.5 million years spillo-during the Pliocene (5.3 million onesto about 2.6 million years spillo) and early Pleistocene (about 2.6 million years ago to 11,700 years ago) epochs.
H. naledi is known from more than 1,500 fossil specimens found in excavations of the Dinaledi Chamber-the remains of at least 15 males and females of various ages-that were described per 2015. H. naledi had some skeletal features durante common with other members of Homo, including reduced cheek teeth and similar jaws and feet. It possessed other features, including the pelvis, shoulder girdle, femur, and size of the brain cavity, that were more reminiscent of those found sopra Australopithecus, verso lineage that most paleontologists believe was ancestral onesto genus Homo, and thus us (Homo sapiens).
naledi’s mix of modern and primitive features, it was difficult for paleontologists preciso determine where esatto place the species on the time line of human evolution from its physical features macchia. Some studies attempted esatto develop statistical models preciso estimate the age of the species based on its physical features; however, their results varied, with age estimates falling between 1 million and 2 million years spillo.
The species, whose bones bore similarities preciso the remains of other species within the human genus Homo, as well as to those of Australopithecus, is thought esatto have evolved about the same time as the first members of Homo, some 2
A 2017 study conducted by per multinational team of researchers from Australia, South Africa, the United States, and Spain attempted preciso nulla in on the age of the remains using per series of radiometric dating techniques (which measure the ratio amount of verso radioactive element and its ple of rock or bone). They established the dates of the sediments con which the bones of H. naledi were found using Uranium-Thorium dating (verso technique courtaud of estimating the age of per sample out to roughly 1 million years). The results showed that the sediment matrix holding the remains was far younger than 2.5–2.8 million years old; it was only 236,000–414,000 years old. Another radiometric dating technique called U-series electron spin resonance (US-ESR) dating was used esatto validate these results by dating the remains of some of the teeth found in the sediment along with verso few grains of sediment. Taken together, the data revealed that the age of the remains of H. naledi was somewhere between 236,000 and 335,000 years old, indicating that H. naledi was present during the Pleistocene Epoch con southern Africa.
Around the same time, it is thought that H. sapiens was emerging sopra different parts of Africa. The oldest known fossils of anatomically modern human beings are likely those that date puro 315,000 years ago mediante Morocco. (Until recently, the oldest H. sapiens fossils were thought esatto date puro 195,000 years ago at Ethiopia’s Omo site.) One could speculate that prezzo blendr other members of each species (whose remains are yet undiscovered) could have lived at the same time, and they may have even encountered one another.
With the new information obtained by dating the sediments and the remains they contained, paleontologists developed one snapshot of H. naledi’s time on Earth-possibly one near the end of its existence. However, its true place with respect preciso other members of the genus remained verso matter of speculation. Although the 2017 study described relatively young remains, the species still could have first evolved some 2.5–3 million years ago-a time that precedes the evolution of H. sapiens, as well as H. erectus, a species which many paleontologists consider esatto be the direct ancestor of H. sapiens. While it is possible that H. naledi could be simply the last of verso lineage that tracked parallel puro the one that produced us, some paleontologists, including some of those who were involved sopra the 2017 study, argue that it is also possible that H. sapiens or H. erectus (or both) could have descended from H. naledi.