Rising star Cave, South Africa: In 2013,Berger, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrandin Johannesburg, South Africa, had excavated some major finds. Little did he know that what he found could shake up our understanding of human evolution and make us question our identity.
Two years of probing into depths of limestone tunnels in the Rising Star Cave outside Johannesburg , led to Berger’s latest discovery what they say is a new addition to our family tree.
“Homo Naledi,”- that’s what Berger’s team have decided to call the new species of human relative. Another interesting discovery is that this new species had been burying its dead- behavior scientists believed was limited to humans. The absence of damage from predators or catastrophes led the team to believe that Homo naledi, a non-human species of hominid, was deliberately disposing its dead in that dark chamber.
The team believes that the chamber, located 30 meters underground, was a burial ground. Beger said that this was the only other species that perhaps functioned on certain moral grounds and took the effort to dispose it’s dead fellow men in deep, remote chamers exhibiting some sort of death ritual. “It absolutely questions what makes us human. And I don’t think we know anymore what does” Berger said to CNN.
So far they’ve unearthed more than 1,500 fossil remains .Since the chamber was accessible only through a narrow chute almost 100 yards from the cave’s entrance, Berger made an announcement on Social media platforms looking for skinny scientists and cavers who could fit through the tiny chute and bring up the bones. It took him about 72 hours to form a team of six “underground astronauts” — all women — to do the job.
‘Homo Naledi’ – Very Human like
Scientist say the Naledi’s brain was almost the size of an orange. It stood about 5 feet tall, had long legs, and have feet like ours, suggesting they could walk long distances.Although its hands are human-like, the finger bones are curved that suggests climbing and tool-using capabilities.
According to Berger, the discovery will question history and our very identity. Several mysteries are challenged by scientists and their conclusions are further challenged by other scientists creating an anti- thesis to their findings.
Berger says he’s got years of careful exploration ahead to prove his theory.”This was right under our nose,” says Berger. “And we didn’t see it. What else is out there?”
News Source :CNN