Scientists Shed Light On Mysterious Habits Of Small-Brained Extinct Humans

An extinct human species that lived around 300,000 years ago may have been more similar to us than scientists first thought.

New research has found that this species, Homo naledi, buried their dead deliberately and carved symbols inside caves, marking the earliest recorded occurrences of these behaviors by at least 100,000 years.

This behavior was previously only thought to be performed by Neanderthals and modern Homo sapiens.

These findings were revealed in three preprints published to the preprint server bioRxiv by paleoanthropologist Lee Berger and his colleagues. Berger discovered the existence of this hominid species Homo naledi only eight years prior, inside the Rising Star cave system northwest of Johannesburg in South Africa.

These human cousins are thought to have lived some time between 241,000 and 335,000 years ago, and have features distinct from our human species, including a brain only around one-third the size of ours, and a smaller body stature.

Berger and his team have found evidence for deliberate burial, including 1,800 bone fragments inside an underground chamber, only accessible via a 7.5-inch-wide slot, laid out in a seemingly careful way as opposed to being dumped.

Read more here from Newsweek.