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Research highlight: Introducing a juvenile skeleton of Homo naledi

We put together excavation records, 3D imagery, and laboratory analysis of bones and teeth to understand the preservation of a skeleton from the Dinaledi Chamber.

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Photo showing bones of DH7 in situ in Dinaledi Chamber excavation

Citation: Bolter, Debra R., Marina C. Elliott, John Hawks, and Lee R. Berger. Immature remains and the first partial skeleton of a juvenile Homo naledi, a late Middle Pleistocene hominin from South Africa. PLoS ONE 15(4): e0230440.

The Rising Star fossil assemblages provide some of the richest evidence of immature hominin remains, with at least 10 juvenile individuals. In the Dinaledi Chamber, our team is working to reconstruct the puzzle of the site by finding which bones and fragments belong to individual children. This paper describes a partial skeleton with postcranial and mandibular elements.

As this evidence continues to build, we will be able to build a solid picture of growth and development in this species.

Immature remains and the first partial skeleton of a juvenile Homo naledi, a late Middle Pleistocene hominin from South Africa
Immature remains are critical for understanding maturational processes in hominin species as well as for interpreting changes in ontogenetic development in hominin evolution. The study of these subjects is hindered by the fact that associated juvenile remains are extremely rare in the hominin fossil…
Research by John HawksHomo nalediRising Star cave systemdevelopment
John Hawks

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I'm a paleoanthropologist exploring the world of ancient humans and our fossil relatives.

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