Faculty Research

The Recent Discovery of a Distant Cousin: Homo naledi

Prof. DeSilva and a team of scholars at universities around the world are quickly working to place the newest fossil discovery into the history of human evolution.

Detailed analyses of Homo naledi shows a mosaic of both early and modern human features.

The recent discovery of a new human ancestor in the Rising Star cave system of South Africa shook the family tree. The newest member—Homo naledi—has a mash-up of ancient and modern human features, and the announcement stirred some controversy over whether the specimens are truly a new species.

Two studies published today in Nature Communications only intensify the debate, suggesting that H. naledi was a tree climber, long-distance strider and potential tool-user.