The continuing mysteries of Homo naledi
eLife
41

No “mystery” & not “Homo naledi” but “pan naledi”? Naledi has probably more to do with chimpanzee or bonobo than with human evolution. Not only is naledi far too late (c 250 ka) & bonobo-like, but all its humanlike traits (esp.full plantigrady) are not uniquely human-derived, but primitive-hominid (“hominid” sensu Gorilla-Homo-Pan-australopiths, vs “pongid” orangutan + fossil relatives), e.g. chimps (Pan) before birth have humanlike feet wich near birth become handlike. Naledi fossilized in mud-stone (which forms in +-stagnant water), its curved handbones indicate frequent vertical climbing, its full plantigrady (opposite of ostrich or kangaroo) contradicts frequent running: they obviously lived in wetlands & swamp forests, where they waded bipedally like lowland gorillas & bonobos (in search of waterlilies or papyrus sedges or so) but much more frequently. Naledi was no tool-maker more than chimps, they were no savanna-runners as prof.Berger wants us to believe, and they certainly did not bury their dead in caves as he anthropocentrically thinks: naledi simply died where they lived, and erosion brought their remains into the caves. Google e.g. “Pan naledi 2017 Verhaegen”.

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