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Homo Naledi Disposing Dead

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241,000 years ago the human ancestors, ancient hominid known as Homo naledi deliberately disposed of its dead in caves.

A team of paleoanthropologist from University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg lead by Lee Berger. The team found 28 skull fragments and six teeth from a child’s skull discovered in a narrow opening located about 12 meters from an underground chamber where cave explorers first found H. naledi fossils.

Features of the child’s skull qualify it as H. naledi, a species with an orange-sized brain and skeletal characteristics of both present-day people and Homo species from around 2 million years ago .Fossil fragments belonging to about 24 Homo naledi individuals have been found in the cave system since 2013, when the first fossils from this human ancestor were discovered in what’s now known as the Dinaledi Chamber. The presence of so many individuals from a single species in the cave is mysterious.

The area is barely navigable for experienced spelunkers with modern equipment. That leaves open the possibility that more than 240,000 years ago, human ancestors with orange-size brains deliberately entered a dark, maze-like cave, perhaps through a vertical chute that narrows to 7 inches (18 cm) in places, and placed their dead inside.

No tools or artifacts have been found alongside the Rising Star cave system fossils. There are few signs of other animals entering the caves, beyond two specimens of juvenile baboons, at least one of which may be much older than the Homo naledi remains.

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