Fossils unearthed in South Africa restore mystery about human ancestors

human skull Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The discovery of an infant’s skull fossils in a South African cave, which researchers announced Thursday (4), has revealed the mysteries surrounding the distant human ancestor, Homo naledi.

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new fossils

The first evidence for the existence of man, Naledi, casts doubt on some theories about evolution. Firma AFP.

In Maruping, near Johannesburg, 28 pieces of a small skull and six teeth were found.

For years, this rich anthropological site, called the Cradle of Humanity, full of pre-human caves and fossils and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, has been a treasure trove of information for paleontologists.

The remains were found in an almost inaccessible place, at the end of the passages that are only 10 cm wide in some parts. For Homo naledi, navigating through the cave may have been easier, according to one of the scientists involved in the discovery, because they were smaller individuals and therefore “better climbers,” Tibogo Makhubela told AFP.

“The real mystery of this creature is why it was there,” said paleontologist Lee Berger, who led the research. “Something amazing happened in this cave between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago.”

Although scientists refer to the infant’s fossil as if it were a female, it has not yet been possible to determine its gender.

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