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Homo naledi

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Finding ancient fire use in the Rising Star cave system

The study of the underground landscape enters a new phase with evidence of charcoal and burned animal bone in deep chambers.

A piece of charcoal upon a brown surface with tiny rodent bones visible
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Research highlight: The frontal sinuses of fossil hominins

A look inside the skulls of hominins reveals the extensive variation in the form of the internal structures known as the frontal sinuses.

Crania of Petralona and LES1 showing the extent of their frontal sinuses
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Panel: Who or what is Homo naledi?

Lee Berger, Agustin Fuentes, and I had a provocative conversation sharing our different perspectives on work related to the Rising Star cave system.

John Hawks with bookshelves in the background
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Research highlight: Vertebral wedging in Homo naledi

In a new paper led by Scott Williams, we look at the way that the Homo naledi lower vertebral column compares to humans and other extinct hominins.

Vertebral column preserved for the LES1 skeleton in left lateral, anterior, posterior, and right lateral views.
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Research highlight: The limbs of Homo naledi

In a new paper, Sarah Traynor, David Green and I show that the sizes of the arm bones of Homo naledi are more or less like today's humans, despite their many morphological adaptations to climbing.

Homo naledi skeletal material on a black table with dark background
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Research highlight: Pelvic fragment from the Lesedi Chamber

A new paper from our team led by Zachary Cofran looks at the immature ilium that is currently the most complete pelvic fragment of Homo naledi.

Research highlight: Pelvic fragment from the Lesedi Chamber
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Research highlight: A partial skull from Rising Star

Our team uncovered the tiny skull in a near-impossible crevice deep in the cave system.

Reconstruction of Leti skull.
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Fossil profile: U.W. 101-258 and humeral torsion

A humerus from the Dinaledi Chamber gives some insight into the behavior of Homo naledi.

U.W. 101-283 humerus illustration with information added
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Research highlight: A look at the questions raised by Homo naledi

A chapter that presents some of the key topics shaping our continuing investigations of the Rising Star cave system.

Cast of the LES1 skull of Homo naledi, held by a hand.
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Lecture: How Homo naledi matters to our origins

A lecture in 2020 covering some of the latest research and new questions arising from the Rising Star cave system.

John Hawks at a podium that is labeled with the CARTA logo