New type of human is found - level 3
Buried deep in a cave in South Africa, scientists have discovered a new human-like species.
More than 1,500 fossils from about 15 people were found. They're being called Homo Naledi – a new branch of hominids that could be very closely related to modern humans.
Scientists claim that the discovery will change ideas about our human ancestors.
The exact age of the bones isn't known, but they're estimated to be at least 20,000 years old. Measurements of the bones show that the creature had a curious blend of ancient ape and modern human-like features. Its brain is tiny, about the size of a gorilla's, and had small teeth. The feet and ankles are built for walking upright, but its hands are curved, a feature seen in apes that spend time in trees.
Homo Naledi is unlike any primitive human found in Africa. Scientists don't know how the bodies ended up in such a remote part of the caves. One theory is they were deposited by relatives as part of an ancient burial rite.
Difficult words: species (a type of animal/human), branch (a related part of something), hominid (a primate of the family Hominidae which includes humans and their fossil ancestors), claim (to say), ancestor (a type of animal or human which lived before and is similar to a modern animal or human), tiny (very small), primitive (early), deposit (to put something somewhere), rite (a religious ceremony).
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