W5 Reflection Post

While looking through this article on the top 10 finds of 2015, the one titled “A New Human Relative” caught my eye and I skipped to it. It appears that scientists have found a transitional species between australopithecines, such as Lucy, and Homo habilis, or early humans. Some cavers in the Rising Star cave system in South Africa discovered what seemed to be human like remains, and promptly told paleoanthropologist Lee Berger. The passageway of the cave system that the remains were found in is extremely narrow, no more than seven inches at one point, so Lee Berger searched for smaller, non-claustrophobic scientists, coming up with a team of six women. The team collected over 1500 specimens from at least 15 different bodies. Then, it was determined that these remains belonged to a previously unknown species, which they named Homo naledi. I believe this to be phenomenally huge because this discovery finally unearthed that unknown species between apelike humans and early humans. The article went on to describe the features of this species: a mix of primitive and modern features, with a tiny head and a brain the size of an orange, a human-like shaped skull, hands that were adapted to manipulate things and feet adapted for walking upright, and shoulders and fingers built for climbing. There was no cultural material found with these hominines. As I read through this mix of features, I tried putting together in my mind what the Homo naledi would look like. I image something, or more, someone, not much bigger than australoithecines, such as Lucy who was about 4 feet tall. It all makes me very curious as to how they lived, since they seemed to be good climbers as well as able to use their hands like early humans. I wonder whether the scientists will be able to interpret any more from these findings, such as the dates that they existed (since the Homo naledi are a part of the genus Homo, they most likely existed around 2 1/2 million years ago, but the remains have yet to be dated). I’m also interested in how the Earth changed around these remains, because if the opening was as narrow when the Homo naledi were alive, it would be unlikely that they often left that cave system. Overall, what surprised me most about this Top 10 article was the variation between all the discoveries, both in the types of discovery, from the World’s Oldest Pretzel┬áto A New Human Relative, as well as the locations that these discoveries were made, from Germany (World’s Oldest Pretzel) to South Africa (A New Human Relative).

One thought on “W5 Reflection Post

  1. Great post and insights. I agree with what you said about what surprised you the most. The variation between the discoveries was incredible. I also wonder if scientists will be able to interpret any additional research and information such as Lucy. The way of life they had could have been passed down to today and the modern way of doing things in everyday life. The more and more research that is done brings out discoveries that we would have never imagined. The way the earth changed around the remains was interesting too. The worlds oldest pretzel was a huge discovery in Germany. All the discoveries had great meaning.

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