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, in a series of caves northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa.

The British Museum uses cookies to ensure you have the best browsing experience and to help us improve the site.By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.The Lesedi fossils also shed light on the physical capabilities of , but a brain one-third the size of ours, shows that they may not have needed as much brainpower to do complex things.The process of human evolution is more complicated than we thought.” Further excavation of the cave system is planned, an undertaking that requires excavators who can squeeze through passages as narrow as 7 ½ inches and spend hours 100 feet underground.But team members believe that, based on the appearance and condition of the Lesedi fossils, that they fall within the same general time period as those of Dinaledi.

To establish an age of the Dinaledi fossils, scientists used a combination of techniques for both the bones and the surrounding sediments, including uranium series and electron spin resonance dating to examine teeth.

That hypothesis generated criticism when the Dinaledi discovery was first reported, with some scientists pointing to other potential causes and timelines for the deposition of the bones.

The Rising Star team maintains that the lack of animal remains found at the site, and the absence of injury to or erosion of the human fossils, rules out predatory or natural causes of accumulation.

The further back we place ourselves in the Paleolithic, the busier the place seems to get—and the less unique we appear to have been. In a paper in the journal , an international team of researchers announced that they have pushed back the date of the earliest human remains to three hundred thousand years ago.

And the specimens in question were found not in East Africa, which has become synonymous with a sort of paleoanthropological Garden of Eden, but clear on the other side of the continent—and the Sahara—in Morocco.

Details of the latest discovery are published May 9 in two papers in e Life, along with another paper from the research team that pinpoints an age range of the original Rising Star fossils, which comprised 15 different individuals.