Immature Hominin Craniodental Remains From a New Locality in the Rising Star Cave System, South Africa

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Juliet K. Brophy
Marina C. Elliott
Darryl J. De Ruiter
Debra R. Bolter
Steven E. Churchill
Christopher S. Walker
John Hawks
Lee R. Berger

Abstract

Homo naledi is known from the Rising Star cave system, South Africa, where its remains have previously been reported from two localities: the Dinaledi Chamber (U.W. 101) and Lesedi Chamber (U.W. 102). Continued exploration of the cave system has expanded our knowledge of the Dinaledi Chamber and its surrounding passageways (the Dinaledi Subsystem), leading to the discovery of new fossil localities. This paper discusses the fossil assemblage from the locality designated U.W. 110. This locality is within a narrow fissure of the Dinaledi Subsystem approximately 12 meters southwest of the 2013–2014 excavation. Fossil remains recovered from this locality include six hominin teeth and 28 cranial fragments, all consistent with a single immature hominin individual. The dental morphology of the new specimens supports attribution to H. naledi. This is the first immature individual of H. naledi to preserve morphological details of the calvaria in association with dental evidence. This partial skull provides information about the maturation of H. naledi and will be important in reconstructing the developmental sequence of immature remains from other H. naledi occurrences. This is the third locality described with H. naledi material in the Rising Star cave system and represents a depositional situation that resembles the Lesedi Chamber in some respects.

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References

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