New human ancestor found in South Africa

The hominid -- described as a
The hominid -- described as a "new species" of human -- has been named Homo naledi after the "Rising Star" cave where the bones were found. Naledi means "star" in Sesotho, a local South African language. AFP PHOTO/HO/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/

THE REMAINS of a previously unknown human species has been found in an underground graveyard in South Africa.  

The fossilised bones of 15 bodies were first found in a cave system only accessible via steep climbs and rock crevasses called the Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Johannesburg in 2013. 

Scientist have named the species Homo Naledi and have spent 700 hours reconstructing a head using bone scanning technology.   

It's believed the discovery may help shed light on how we evolved from ape to human.  

The discovery involved scientists from across the world including six 'undergound astronauts' who were tasked with navigating through narrow passages and dark chambers of the caves.  

Topics:  editors picks evolution science

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