Current News & Events
Primitive cousin Homo naledi much younger than thought
Efforts to date Homo naledi fossils have produced an unexpected result; the early human species lived much more recently than scientists had thought.
Homo naledi fossils were discovered in the Rising Star cave system in South Africa in 2013. While the fossils shared some anatomical features with modern humans (such as the shape of their wrist bones), other features (such as the small size of the skull) had more in common with some of the earliest members of the Homo genus, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, who lived close to two million years ago.
While the mix of primitive and modern features made it hard to place in the evolutionary timeline, the most common theory was that Homo naledi probably lived perhaps one to two million years ago.
However, a large international team of researchers has now dated those fossils, and the results show that Homo naledi was most likely alive sometime between 236,000 and 335,000 years ago. The finding means Homo naledi was alive at the same time as Homo sapiens ? modern humans ? first appeared.
The Wollongong Isotope Geochronology Laboratory (with support from SMAH & GeoQuEST) is organised a conference/workshop on Innovative isotope biochemistry and elemental mapping in biomedical research. This event gathered world-leaders in these new disciplines and provided an opportunity to discuss opportunities for biomedical research applications at UOW. The event was held on 10th December.
- Professor Vincent Balter (ENS Lyon, France)
- Professor Philip Doble (UTS)
- Mr T. Gabriel Enge (SEES, UOW)
- Associate Professor Dianne Jolley (Chem, UOW)
- Associate Professor Heath Ecroyd (IHMRI/Bio, UOW)
- Dr Justin Yerbury (IHMRI/Bio, UOW)
- Dr Lezanne Ooi (IHMRI/Bio, UOW)
- Professor Brett Garner (IHMRI/Bio, UOW)
Download the poster [PDF]