Skip to content

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.

1 min read
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

John Hawks Twitter

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

Related Posts

Members Public

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
Members Public

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
Members Public

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