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Homo Naledi Humanoids May Have Shared Earth With Humans, Roamed the Planet Less than 330,000 Years Ago

May 11, 2017 05:19 AM EDT
Homo naledi
A new study suggests that human ancestors, homo naledis could have walked the Earth with early humans. The study dated the newly discovered skeletons and placed it at about 330,000 yeas ago, about the time humans emerged on Earth.
(Photo : Wits University OFFICIAL/YouTube)

Did humans use to share the planet with other ancient humanoids? A new study suggests that human ancestors homo naledi may have roamed the Earth alongside humans years ago.

Researchers discovered that the Homo naledi has a smaller brain than other homo species, but share common features with them including humans.

In 2015, skeletal remains of homo naledi humanoids were discovered. Based on a new study, they seem to have lived about 330,000 years ago. If the findings are true, this means that the homo naledi could have been around during that time humans emerged.

Because of this conclusion, the scientific community is looking into the possibility that homo naledi humanoids and humans walked the planet at the same time. This is the first time this conclusion has been considered since formerly dated homo naledi skeletons thought to have existed long before humans walked on Earth.

Before the discovery of the most recent bones in Africa, the homo naledi species were believed to have existed 900,000 to 1.8 million years ago. But the recently discovered bones placed it at about 236,000 to 335,000 years ago.

The paper suggesting that homo naledi humanoids and humans could have shared the Earth some 330,000 years ago is published in eLife journal. Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, led the study.

In order to come up with the finding, one key function is vital -- to try and date the fossil. To do that, the researchers tried to analyze uranium levels and other elements found in the bones and teeth, according to a report. Radioactive elements in the excavation site were also considered during the study.

The paper may have discovered a sign that homo naledi humanoids may have indeed shared the Earth with early humans, but the researchers are still far behind when it comes to identifying when the homo naledi emerged.

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