ALMOST COMPLETE SKULL OF ANCIENT HOMININ UNEARTHED
Of these, one adult specimen is remarkably complete and has been given the nickname ‘Neo’. This is the word for ‘gift’ in Sesotho, which is a language spoken in South Africa. Witwatersrand University’s Peter Schmid, who has spent hundreds of hours piecing together skull fragments from this individual, said when announcing the news: “We finally get a look at the face of Homo naledi."
As well giving us a more detailed picture of the species’ physical make-up, the new fossils may shed light on the birth of human cultural traditions. The fact that both caches of fossils were found so far into the cave network has led to speculation that this may be evidence of Homo naledi 'burying' their dead in caves. If this is true, it would be one of the oldest examples of such a practice yet discovered. In 2015, a team from Witwatersrand University in South Africa announced their discovery of a previously unknown species of early hominin, dubbed Homo naledi. The creature, which walked upright and stood 1.5m tall, would have co-existed alongside Homo sapiens and and Homo Sapiens and Homo Neanderthals – modern humans and Neanderthals – around a quarter of a million years ago.
The team’s findings were based on fossils that were discovered in 2013 in the Rising Star cave system, near Krugersdorp in Greater Johannesburg. Those original H. naledi fossils were found in the caves' Dinaledi Chamber, and consisted of the partial remains of up to 15 individuals. Now, further exploration of the nearby Lesedi Chamber has unearthed over 130 further H. naledi fossils, whick are believed to have come from just three individuals.
Neo is the most complete H. naledi specimen of that has yet been discovered