Claim of Ancient Burials Disrupts Human Evolution Story
This is sparking debate
Deep inside a South African cave, researchers say they have discovered graves dug by our ancient small-brained relatives more than 100,000years before the oldest known human burials, a claim that would revise the story of our evolution.
The international team of scientists studying the Rising Star cave systemnorthwest of Johannesburg also reported finding limestone walls engraved with triangles, squares and crosshatchings that they attributed to the same relative, Homo naledi, a contemporary of early humans.
But the findings, announced Monday at the Richard Leakey Memorial Conference at Stony Brook University in New York and in three papers posted online, triggered the kind of fierce debate that has followed H. naledi since its discovery made headlines in 2015. Experts not involved in the work are sharply divided over the evidence that H. naledi was burying its dead. Several also said there was no evidence that the engravings were thousands of years old.
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