Sunday, November 01, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday November 02, 2015 - Going All to Species

Big Picture Science - Going All to Species

Meet your new relatives.   The fossilized bones of Homo naledi are unique for their sheer number, but they may also be fill a special slot in our ancestry: the first of our genus Homo.   Sporting modern hands and feet but only a tiny brain, this creature may link us and our ape-like ancestors.

Some anthropologists hail the discovery as that of a new hominid species.  Not all their colleagues agree.  Find out what’s at stake in the debate.

Also, the scientist who helped retrieve the fossils describes her perilous crawl through a cave with only ten inches of elbow room.  And a radical theory about what these old bones might mean: could they be from a burial two million years ago?

  • Marina Elliott  – Paleoanthropologist, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • Carl Ward – Biological anthropologist, University of Missouri
  • John Hawks - Anthropologist, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Tim White - Anthropologist, University of California, Berkeley

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