19
   

New species of hominid discovered

 
 
FBM
 
Reply Thu 10 Sep, 2015 05:47 pm
Pretty exciting stuff. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/10/africa/homo-naledi-human-relative-species/index.html

Quote:
Homo naledi: New species of human ancestor discovered in South Africa

By David McKenzie and Hamilton Wende, CNN


Scientists say they have discovered a new species of human relative in South Africa
"Homo naledi" appears to have buried its dead -- a behavior previously though limited to humans
The discovery could transform our understanding of human evolution
Rising Star Cave, South Africa (CNN)When an amateur caver and university geologist arrived at Lee Berger's house one night in late 2013 with a fragment of a fossil jawbone in hand, they broke out the beers and called National Geographic.

Berger, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, had unearthed some major finds before. But he knew he had something big on his hands.

What he didn't know at the time is that it would shake up our understanding of the progress of human evolution and even pose new questions about our identity.

Two years after they were tipped off by cavers plumbing the depths of the limestone tunnels in the Rising Star Cave outside Johannesburg, Berger and his team have discovered what they say is a new addition to our family tree.

The team is calling this new species of human relative "Homo naledi," and they say it appears to have buried its dead -- a behavior scientists previously thought was limited to humans.

Berger's team came up with the startling theory just days after reaching the place where the fossils -- consisting of infants, children, adults and elderly individuals -- were found, in a previously isolated chamber within the cave.

The team believes that the chamber, located 30 meters underground in the Cradle of Humanity world heritage site, was a burial ground -- and that Homo naledi could have used fire to light the way.
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Type: Question • Score: 19 • Views: 8,021 • Replies: 41

 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 10 Sep, 2015 10:20 pm

While I'm glad for the increased scientific knowledge, some of these cavers are NUTS.

This one isn't as bad as that fossil cave in Australia, but.... Wow.

Someone's going to get killed in one of these caves if everyone keeps pushing their luck.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/rights-exempt/nat-geo-staff-graphics-illustrations/2015/09/dinaledi_cave4_FINAL.ngsversion.1440173941173.png
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Sep, 2015 11:17 pm
Damn, beat me to it.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-10/new-species-of-human-relative-found-in-underground-graveyard/6765466
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Sep, 2015 11:23 pm
When ever this happens, which is constantly, I say "oh, so what you have been telling us is the truth so help you God was wrong then?" When it comes to the question of anything that happened before humans starting writing stuff down the story should be prefaced with " this is our theory today, it stands until we give you our next theory".
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 01:06 am
@Wilso,
I heard this in the AM news on PBS and am looking forward to the literature.
If this is all factual and the ages confirmed, it will give the human evolution story a nice boost in that we seem to fit in the same ranks as any other animal . With this little group of "advanced and primitive" features , it can be seen that our evolution was NOT a strait line development. Many fossils are being found in recent years that show that we belong to the same "bush" with all sorts of "trial branches" and successful and unsuccessful species and subspecies.

The neat thing about this find through the Witwatersrand Ubiversity , this is the same university where Raymond Dart, finder of the "Taung Baby" was the head of the paleo/ human archeo departments. The Taung Baby(an Australopithecene) is still a subject of some controversy and speculation as to its actual age and its structure. These fossils give a good understanding about our development in that brains came "After" upright walking and human-like hands.
Most paleontologists specializing in human evolution have
kept their mouths shut until something like this was found.Im sure that these finds will result in some "reshuffling" of our own cladistics.

Im gonna read some more before getting all involved in discussion. I think we should invoke the "5day" rule to make sure that all the reports are even accurate.

0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 01:10 am
@hawkeye10,
SCience is always an incorporation of the new and a revision of the existing.
Crystal Balls are not part of our toolkits. Science can be a frustrating bunch of disciplines where we work with what weve got and speculate about its meaning and e always know that todays "theories" can be overturned by tomorrows discoveries.
BFD.
See my sig line
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 01:37 am

For those who are scientifically inclined, the journal articles about this discovery are available for free download:

http://elifesciences.org/content/elife/4/e09560.full.pdf
http://elifesciences.org/content/elife/4/e09561.full.pdf
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 01:49 am
@oralloy,
Nat Geo , who sponsored much of the excavation, will have its next issue covering it in a popular style, and PBS is going to have a NOVA epidoe devoted to these fossils.
Remember, this has been worked on for several years and what theyve released for the public is still the tip of the knowledge pole.
They still have no idea about the ages(theres speculation but nothing definite ).
Id love it of thee guys were relatively late, sorta like some "left over" species who were becoming extinct during the rise of sapiens, idaltu and sapiens sapiens.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 01:57 am
@farmerman,
And remember too in the last few years they have totally changed their minds on timelines and inner-species breeding. Genetics tell is amazing things dont ya think?
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 02:09 am
@hawkeye10,
theres probably no genetics involved with these guys. The best they may have is some osteocalcin for amino acids and paleoproteins.
If the ages of these are old, theyd give us ideas about the nature of some "common ancestor" of both Homo and Australopithecus.
If they are recent , itd be an example of a "holdout species" or some new ideas about our own diversity late in our development.

0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 02:13 am
@oralloy,
Thanks for the download, Im gonna print out the geo paper and read it this weekend. SOunds like fun .
I was listening to the BBC and how the quick release of the data to the popular press had resulted inall these "heads" scrambling around to interview the actual scientists who were involved in the excavation.

The excavation team was interested in another kind of "fitness" in the team members. They had to be small and thin in order to make it into the fossil chamber of the cave.



0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 03:36 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
And remember too in the last few years they have totally changed their minds on timelines and inner-species breeding. Genetics tell is amazing things dont ya think?

I suspect that when they finally sequence Homo erectus, they are going to find that they've already done so, and that Denisovan DNA is actually Homo erectus DNA.

If that is so, it will mean that Homo sapiens interbred with both Neanderthal and Homo erectus.
FBM
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 07:13 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

When ever this happens, which is constantly, I say "oh, so what you have been telling us is the truth so help you God was wrong then?" When it comes to the question of anything that happened before humans starting writing stuff down the story should be prefaced with " this is our theory today, it stands until we give you our next theory".


So it's better to stick to the oldest story and ignore incoming evidence? Rolling Eyes I'd be surprised and disappointed if hypotheses weren't constantly being challenged and modified to fit the evidence. The important thing is that those changes are made based on evidence, not politics or preferences.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  4  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 07:22 am
@FBM,
This was great timing. My daughter is just learning about this sort of thing in school and I was helping her with a worksheet on it the night before this showed in the news.

So the next morning I had to call her over to read the article. I also pointed out how they had to climb through thin openings in caves and how the small thin women got priority to do this for this particular reason - pointed out how smaller and thinner can be a bonus.
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 07:35 am
@Linkat,
Laughing Yeah, I thought it was interesting that teh wimmins did all the dirty work.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 10:13 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:


If that is so, it will mean that Homo sapiens interbred with both Neanderthal and Homo erectus.


I already feel a little different.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 10:45 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

Pretty exciting stuff.


That's the joy of science eh. Always something new!
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 10:59 am
@oralloy,
while H erectus DNA SHOULD be discoverable, (weve got the oldest viable sample of mDNA from a H heidelbergensis that was supposedly 400K old). However, weve not fould ANY H erectus DNA of any kind, not even a partial.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  6  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2015 01:35 pm
@FBM,
I don't know which is more amazing.

> The scientific value of the findings
> The incredible courage of the cavers
> The realization that our congressional reps have direct ancestors

Thanks for posting, FBM.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2015 10:37 am
@neologist,
are you only able to be amazed by one thing at a time?
 

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