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Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa.

Dirks PH, Berger LR, Roberts EM, Kramers JD, Hawks J, Randolph-Quinney PS, Elliott M, Musiba CM, Churchill SE, de Ruiter DJ, Schmid P, Backwell LR, Belyanin GA, Boshoff P, Hunter KL, Feuerriegel EM, Gurtov A, Harrison Jdu G, Hunter R, Kruger A, Morris H, Makhubela TV, Peixotto B, Tucker S - Elife (2015)

Bottom Line: The chamber was always in the dark zone, and not accessible to non-hominins.Bone taphonomy indicates that hominin individuals reached the chamber complete, with disarticulation occurring during/after deposition.Preliminary evidence is consistent with deliberate body disposal in a single location, by a hominin species other than Homo sapiens, at an as-yet unknown date.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Earth and Oceans, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.

ABSTRACT
We describe the physical context of the Dinaledi Chamber within the Rising Star cave, South Africa, which contains the fossils of Homo naledi. Approximately 1550 specimens of hominin remains have been recovered from at least 15 individuals, representing a small portion of the total fossil content. Macro-vertebrate fossils are exclusively H. naledi, and occur within clay-rich sediments derived from in situ weathering, and exogenous clay and silt, which entered the chamber through fractures that prevented passage of coarser-grained material. The chamber was always in the dark zone, and not accessible to non-hominins. Bone taphonomy indicates that hominin individuals reached the chamber complete, with disarticulation occurring during/after deposition. Hominins accumulated over time as older laminated mudstone units and sediment along the cave floor were eroded. Preliminary evidence is consistent with deliberate body disposal in a single location, by a hominin species other than Homo sapiens, at an as-yet unknown date.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Cartoon illustrating the geological and taphonomic context and distribution of fossils, sediments and flowstones within the Dinaledi Chamber.The distribution of the different geological units and flowstones is shown together with the inferred distribution of fossil material.DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09561.005
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fig3: Cartoon illustrating the geological and taphonomic context and distribution of fossils, sediments and flowstones within the Dinaledi Chamber.The distribution of the different geological units and flowstones is shown together with the inferred distribution of fossil material.DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09561.005

Mentions: Facies 1b consists of orange-brown mudstone interlaminated with thin lenses of silt to fine- to medium-grained sand with angular to sub-rounded grains of chert and quartz, and abundant micromammal fossils. The sandstone/siltstone layers are a few mm thick, and in some places display small-scale current ripple laminations. Facies 1b is restricted to isolated erosion remnants in the floor and to crevices in the dolostone above the floor (Figure 3). An extensive search for hominin and other macro-vertebrate bones in Facies 1a and 1b was conducted within the Dinaledi Chamber, but none were found.


Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa.

Dirks PH, Berger LR, Roberts EM, Kramers JD, Hawks J, Randolph-Quinney PS, Elliott M, Musiba CM, Churchill SE, de Ruiter DJ, Schmid P, Backwell LR, Belyanin GA, Boshoff P, Hunter KL, Feuerriegel EM, Gurtov A, Harrison Jdu G, Hunter R, Kruger A, Morris H, Makhubela TV, Peixotto B, Tucker S - Elife (2015)

Cartoon illustrating the geological and taphonomic context and distribution of fossils, sediments and flowstones within the Dinaledi Chamber.The distribution of the different geological units and flowstones is shown together with the inferred distribution of fossil material.DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09561.005
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4559842&req=5

fig3: Cartoon illustrating the geological and taphonomic context and distribution of fossils, sediments and flowstones within the Dinaledi Chamber.The distribution of the different geological units and flowstones is shown together with the inferred distribution of fossil material.DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09561.005
Mentions: Facies 1b consists of orange-brown mudstone interlaminated with thin lenses of silt to fine- to medium-grained sand with angular to sub-rounded grains of chert and quartz, and abundant micromammal fossils. The sandstone/siltstone layers are a few mm thick, and in some places display small-scale current ripple laminations. Facies 1b is restricted to isolated erosion remnants in the floor and to crevices in the dolostone above the floor (Figure 3). An extensive search for hominin and other macro-vertebrate bones in Facies 1a and 1b was conducted within the Dinaledi Chamber, but none were found.

Bottom Line: The chamber was always in the dark zone, and not accessible to non-hominins.Bone taphonomy indicates that hominin individuals reached the chamber complete, with disarticulation occurring during/after deposition.Preliminary evidence is consistent with deliberate body disposal in a single location, by a hominin species other than Homo sapiens, at an as-yet unknown date.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Earth and Oceans, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.

ABSTRACT
We describe the physical context of the Dinaledi Chamber within the Rising Star cave, South Africa, which contains the fossils of Homo naledi. Approximately 1550 specimens of hominin remains have been recovered from at least 15 individuals, representing a small portion of the total fossil content. Macro-vertebrate fossils are exclusively H. naledi, and occur within clay-rich sediments derived from in situ weathering, and exogenous clay and silt, which entered the chamber through fractures that prevented passage of coarser-grained material. The chamber was always in the dark zone, and not accessible to non-hominins. Bone taphonomy indicates that hominin individuals reached the chamber complete, with disarticulation occurring during/after deposition. Hominins accumulated over time as older laminated mudstone units and sediment along the cave floor were eroded. Preliminary evidence is consistent with deliberate body disposal in a single location, by a hominin species other than Homo sapiens, at an as-yet unknown date.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus