There have been many significant findings concerning human evolution over the years, but the most recent, the Homo Naledi discovery, is moving the science forward, giving more clues as to the genetic drift that created modern humans. National Geographic reports that it was recreational cavers who sought out a remote tunnel at the Rising Star cave located 30 miles Northwest of Johannesburg.
The two hoped to find fossilised human remains and were successful when they squeezed through a narrow passage into the burial area.
Scientists have discovered a new species of human ancestor deep in a South African cave. What it means for history: http://t.co/OhM53BtjqG
— Nat Geo Photography (@NatGeoPhotos) September 27, 2015
Scientists recently discovered Homo Naledi, a species related to Homo Sapiens! http://t.co/qIFrWJxy23
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 24, 2015
That humans have evolved over time is now a scientific fact due to the overwhelming fossil records of what could all be described as so-called “missing links.” The fact that there is, or ever was, a missing link is a myth. The fact is that in evolution there is never going to be a single stage which proves the rest of the stages. What is found preserved in the ground, however, can be dated and the bones can even be scanned and have artificial flesh put on to see what the person would have looked like. The figures of Lucy and the Neanderthal are what these “people” would have looked like.
The theory of Evolution has many implications for scientific inquiry, especially concerning how and why are bodies work the way they do.
Menstruation as a “hack” of existing systems. Human evolution is cool and terrifying. Read this. https://t.co/Pk03DPkE6O
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) September 30, 2015
— Kevin Green (@FixedOpsGenius) September 29, 2015
Humans have been developing larger brains and it is believed that humans one day may become the large headed aliens envisaged by sci-fi writers. This so-called linear progression of evolution, however, may not be so neat and tidy when it comes to human evolution. Scientist Lee Berger at the Perot Museum Lecture described how this most recent fossil finding means that humanoids who could produce fire and bury their dead were around much earlier than would have been expected.
“Homo naledi questions the uniqueness of our humanity.”
What it comes down to is that this is a very ape looking animal that carried out the self-reflective — and spiritual — act of burying one’s dead. In addition, the use of fire indicates that an animal would be using what was to now believed to be a purely modern human technology, e.g. fire.
There are still many unanswered questions. Whose bones are these? Was this a burial ground (almost certainly, the answer is yes)? Is there another explanation for the bones being there (a family could have taken shelter there and died)? Did they use fire torches to see inside the caves?
Perhaps the most tantalizing question is how old are these bones? It is believed they may be millions of years old, but this has not yet been confirmed. The finding even has the religious community asking the relationships of these humanistic fossils and modern man, i.e. Homo Sapien.
As we find out more about our past evolution, we get an idea of how what we know now to be human might have gone back to our very earliest ancestors, especially in the discovery of Homo Naledi.
[Images by @DeboraPatta, Press, Dave Einsel / Twitter / Getty Images / NHM]