Geologists estimate that the cave in which the fossils were discovered is no older than three million years.Francis Thackeray, of the University of the Witwatersrand, suggested that H. habilis, species that existed around 1.5, 2.5, and 1.8 million years ago, respectively. (2017) announced a much more recent age range of between 335,000 and 236,000 years ago from dating fossil teeth, sediments encasing the fossils and overlying flowstone.Before exploring the cave that day, the cavers had been asked by fellow caver and geologist Pedro Boshoff to let him know if they came across any fossils.followed by a second expedition in March 2014 for a 4-week-excavation in the Dinaledi Chamber.naledi lived 2 ± 0.5 million years ago, based on the skulls' similarities to H. They used a variety of dating techniques, including radiocarbon dating of teeth, optically stimulated luminescence of sediment, palaeomagnetic analysis of flowstone, and most conclusively, uranium-thorium dating of cave flowstone and teeth and electron spin resonance dating of teeth. naledi, combining more ancestral with more recently evolved features, might be the product of hybridization between different hominin lineages.The ability of such a small-brained hominin to survive for so long in the midst of more advanced members of Homo will require a revision of previous conceptions of human evolution.
The thumb, wrist, and palm bones are modern-like while the fingers are curved, more australopithecine, and useful for climbing.There is no evidence of rocks or sediment having dropped into the cave from any opening in the surface, and no evidence of water flowing into the cave carrying the bones into the cave. say that "Mono-specific assemblages have been described from Tertiary and Mesozoic vertebrate fossil sites (...), linked to catastrophic events (...) Among deposits of non H.sapiens hominins, where evidence of catastrophic events is lacking, mono-specific assemblages have been associated typically with deliberate cultural deposition or burial".Analyses of excavated middle-ear bones called incus, show that morphologically and metrically, the tiny bones resemble those of chimpanzees, gorillas, and Paranthropus robustus more than they do later members of the genus Homo.
The overall anatomical structure of the species has prompted the investigating scientists to classify the species within the genus Homo, rather than within the genus Australopithecus. naledi skeletons indicate that the origins of the genus Homo were complex and may be polyphyletic (hybrid), and that the species may have evolved separately in different parts of Africa. naledi head was made by measuring the bones of the head, the eye sockets, and where the jaw muscles insert to the skull.
On 13 September 2013, while exploring the Rising Star cave system looking for an extension, recreational cavers Rick Hunter and Steven Tucker of the Speleological Exploration Club (SEC) of South Africa found a narrow, vertically oriented "chimney" or "chute", measuring 12 m (40 ft) long with a very narrow width tightening in places to as small as approximately 20 cm (8 in).