Southeast anthropologist discusses significance of new human-lik - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Southeast anthropologist discusses significance of new human-like species found

(Source: KFVS 12) (Source: KFVS 12)

Scientists in South Africa say they have found a new, human-like species that could rewrite history.

Over the last two years, American anthro paleontologist Lee Berger led the dig in a small cave in South Africa.

That's where his team found the remains of at least 15 individuals of new species named Homo naledi. Scientist determined the bones belonged to men, women and children of different ages. Berger believes they were buried there, maybe millions of years ago.

"Until this point the only good, solid agreed upon species that practiced this stuff was our species, Homo sapiens,” Southeast Missouri State assistant professor of anthropology Jen Bengtson said. “That shows up 200,000 years ago."

If the site is fact an early burial ground it would be the earliest record of any kind of purposeful interment.

"Not just biologically is this one of our ancestors but it brings in the whole cultural connection of humanity as well," Bengtson said.

Researchers also say the find is only the beginning. They believe there are hundreds if not thousands more bone fragments yet to be discovered inside the cave.

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