Pieces of a skeleton of Homo naledi, a newly discovered human species.CreditJohn Hawks/University of Wisconsin-Madison, via European Pressphoto Agency
Acting on a tip from spelunkers two years ago, scientists in South Africadiscovered what the cavers had only dimly glimpsed through a crack in a limestone wall deep in the Rising Star cave: lots and lots of old bones.
The remains covered the earthen floor beyond the narrow opening. This was, the scientists concluded, a large, dark chamber for the dead of a previously unidentified species of the early human lineage — Homo naledi.
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