Lee R. Berger, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
John Hawks, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Darryl J. de Ruiter, Texas A & M University - College Station
Steven E. Churchill, Duke University
Peter Schmid, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Lucas K. Delezene, University of Arkansas
Tracy L. Kivell, University of Kent, U.K.
Heather M. Garvin, Mercyhurst University
Scott A. Williams, New York University
Jeremy M. DeSilva, Dartmouth College
Matthew M. Skinner, University of Kent, U.K.
Charles M. Musiba, University of Colorado Denver
Noel Cameron, Loughborough University, U.K.
Trenton W. Holliday, Tulane University
William Harcourt-Smith, Lehman College
Rebecca R. Ackermann, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Markus Bastir, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Spain
Barry Bogin, Loughborough University
Debra Bolter, Modesto Junior College
Juliet Brophy, Louisana State University
Zachary D. Cofran, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan
Kimberly A. Congdon, University of Missouri - Columbia
Andrew S. Deane, University of KentuckyFollow
Mana Dembo, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Michelle Drapeau, Université de Montréal, Canada
Marina C. Elliott, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Elen M. Feuerriegel, Australian National University, Australia
Daniel Garcia-Martinez, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Spain
David J. Green, Midwestern University - Downers Grove
Alia Gurtov, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Joel D. Irish, Liverpool John Moores University, U.K.
Ashley Kruger, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Myra F. Laird, New York University
Damiano Marchi, University of Pisa, Italy
Marc R. Meyer, Chaffey College
Shahed Nalla, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Enquye W. Negash, George Washington University
Caley M. Orr, University of Colorado
Davorka Radovcic, Croatian National History Museum, Croatia
Lauren Schroeder, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Jill E. Scott, University of Iowa
Zachary Throckmorton, Lincoln Memorial University
Matthew W. Tocheri, Lakehead University, Canada
Caroline VanSickle, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Christopher S. Walker, Duke University
Pianpian Wei, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, China
Bernhard Zipfel, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


Homo naledi is a previously-unknown species of extinct hominin discovered within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. This species is characterized by body mass and stature similar to small-bodied human populations but a small endocranial volume similar to australopiths. Cranial morphology of H. naledi is unique, but most similar to early Homo species including Homo erectus, Homo habilis or Homo rudolfensis. While primitive, the dentition is generally small and simple in occlusal morphology. H. naledi has humanlike manipulatory adaptations of the hand and wrist. It also exhibits a humanlike foot and lower limb. These humanlike aspects are contrasted in the postcrania with a more primitive or australopith-like trunk, shoulder, pelvis and proximal femur. Representing at least 15 individuals with most skeletal elements repeated multiple times, this is the largest assemblage of a single species of hominins yet discovered in Africa.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in eLife, v. 4, article 09560, p. 1-35.

© 2015, Berger et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

National Geographic Society
-Lee R Berger

The National Research Foundation of South Africa
-Lee R Berger

The Palaeontological Scientific Trust
-Lee R Berger

Lyda Hill Foundation
-Lee R Berger

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF)
-John Hawks

Texas A and M University
-Darryl J de Ruiter

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

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media-1.docx (101 kB)
Supplementary file 1: Holotype and paratype specimens and referred materials

media-2.docx (168 kB)
Supplementary file 2: Traits of <em>H. naledi</em> and comparative species.