SCIENTISTS claim fossils found in a cave in South Africa belong to a new species of human relative called Homo Naledi, which may be an early member of the evolutionary group.
The creature, scientists have said, has a surprising mix of human and primitive characteristics and although not thought to be a direct ancestor of today’s human beings is possible an early member of the evolutionary group that led to our closest extinct relatives.
Leader of the scientific team professor Lee Berger from Wits University said a hominid about 1.5 metres tall had been found which was very skinny, had strong joint muscles and a brain about the size of a man’s fist.
The discovery was made in the Cradle of Mankind, west of Johannesburg, in a chamber accessible through a very narrow chute, and is the single largest fossil hominin found in Africa.
The find may well change what is known about evolution as the species may have behaved in a way similar to humans and Neanderthals, the scientists have said.