Antropogenez.ru and “Sergey Krivoplyasov’s 3d-project” represent: Homo naledi The discovery of new species of human is an extraordinary event. Two cavers, Steven Tucker and Rick Hunter, had this extraordinary luck. Exploring the Rising Star cave system in South Africa, they maneuvered through “Superman’s Crawl” into the main chamber. Admiring the chamber’s stalactites, they went to look for the best spot for taking photos and at the far end of the chamber, discovered another passage. Squeezing through Dragon’s Back passage, which was lined with sharp stones, Tucker and Hunter discovered a previously unknown chamber. An unbelievable sight unfolded before their eyes: human bones all over the ground. The cavers contacted anthropology professor Lee Berger, who organized an expedition to extract the treasures of the cave. The scientists recovered around fifteen hundred bone fragments belonging to at least fifteen individuals. The new species was named Homo naledi. Thanks to the abundance of fossils, we’ve learned a lot about this previously unknown species. H. naledi appears to have been a peculiar sort of human. It displayed both primitive and advanced features. The individuals found in the Rising Star cave were about a meter and a half tall. Their general proportions – the ratio of their shoulder width to their height and the length of their arms and legs – were similar to ours. But some aspects of their body plan were quite different. The skull of Homo naledi was very small. The size and structure of its brain were similar to that of Australopithecus. Yet Homo naledi’s jaws and teeth were smaller than those of modern humans. The proportions of its hands were like our own. Its thumbs were large, but its hands weren’t as dexterous as ours, and its fingers were more curved than a chimp’s! Homo naledi’s ribcage was narrow at the top and wide at the bottom, like an ape’s. Evidently, H. naledi had a large stomach. It probably wasn’t able to speak. Its feet were not much different than our own – it walked bipedally with confidence. H. naledi inhabited the savannahs of South Africa 250,000 to 300,000 years ago. At the same time and place lived another species who was much more similar to us – our ancestors. Thanks to skulls found in Broken Hill and Saldanha, we know that in this area, alongside Homo naledi, roamed robust, intelligent hunters – proto humans called Homo rhodesiensis. How did these two species interact? We don’t know. But it’s fair to assume that they weren’t exchanging flowers. The lifestyle of Homo naledi is almost unknown. At that time, South Africa was very dry. It’s possible that H. naledi ate tubers or fruits. Life on the open savannah was full of danger. The H. naledi fossils have no marks from predators’ teeth, but undoubtedly, these small humans of limited intellect often fell prey to large cats and hyenas Was Homo naledi able to feel and think as we do? What occupied them? What did they care about? Did they contemplate life and death? Their brains weren’t large, and we don’t know if they could even make tools. However, it may not be a coincidence that their bones were found deep in a cave. Perhaps in mourning, H. naledi brought the remains of dead kin to this place, where they were guaranteed eternal peace – and now, great glory. Homo naledi is still a mystery. There are many unknowns, and few certainties. The discovery has raised difficult questions. Such are the laws of science: the more we know, the wider the scope for new research. Undoubtedly, we will discover much more about other human races and about our own past. For this, we must look, we must think, and we must face the unknown without fear. More fossils of Homo naledi have been found in Lesedi Chamber in the Rising Star cave system, and we’re looking forward to wonderful, new discoveries.