The fossilized remains of a previously unknown species of human has been discovered inside a cave in South Africa, reported National Geography.
The discovery is so big that it’s profound implications will shake up our very own family tree.
According to the report, scientists unearthed more than 1,500 bones belonging to at least 15 individuals which are yet to be dated. The unknown species has been named Homo naledi.
The bones, which are in phenomenal condition, were located in a remote chamber deep inside the Rising Star cave system in South Africa’s Gauteng province that can only be accessed via several steep climbs and fissures.
The cave measures approximately 30 feet long and a mere 17.5 centimeters wide, and as far as researchers can tell, there were no other entrances to the tiny chamber. So how did this collection of individuals arrive in this dark, isolated and extremely difficult to access cave?
Scientists have not ruled out the possibility of the bodies being disposed of in the cave deliberately, or a catastrophic ‘death trap’ scenario in which the humans entered the cave and all died of an unknown cause, notes National Geographic.
“This incredible fossil find will enlighten us on the origins and diversity of man, but also seems to display a behavior long believed to be unique to humans, even perhaps a defining feature of our species,” a scientist told The Daily Mail.