Professor Lee Berger, a world-renowned paleoanthropologist, believes he and his team have made yet another significant discovery.
Berger announced on December 1 at the Carnegie Institution for Science in the United States that they had discovered evidence that Homo naledi used fire.
Homo naledi is an extinct archaic human species discovered in 2013 in the Rising Star Cave, Cradle of Humankind, on the West Rand, dating between 335 000 and 236 000 years ago.
The initial discovery includes 1 550 specimens representing 737 distinct elements and at least 15 distinct individuals.
Berger and his team explored the “narrow” Dinaledi chamber in August.
He stated that as he looked up, he noticed that the cave’s roof had been blackened by fire.
When Berger emerged from the cave, he found Dr Keneiloe Molopyane, who, with her team, had also discovered a tiny hearth and burnt antelope bones in the Drakensburg chamber.
“As I stared at this amazing coincidence of simultaneous discovery, it made me consider the other spaces.” We had clearly been missing things.”
He stated that after the first expedition, the team went into the “extraordinarily remote” Lesedi chamber.
“We have to crawl through 250 metres of crawling passages and difficult areas.” However, it is a spotless chamber. Humans only discovered this chamber 35 years ago. It’s almost completely human-free.”
Berger informed the audience that they discovered stacked burnt rocks, ash, and animal bones.
“There are no signs of Homo sapiens… beyond the system’s twilight zone.” We’ve reached the deepest part, where humans don’t go. As we searched, the entire floor was covered in burnt animal bones and ash… suddenly, our eyes were opened. It is not difficult to find fire. It is present throughout the system.”
He claimed that during the expedition’s early years, they discovered two pieces of ash in the Lesedi chamber.
Berger stated that this discovery has now opened up the field for further investigation.
“Fire was seen as a critical lack of evidence in our arguments about the small-brained hominoid, and I believe we found plenty of it.” We’ll see if they associate across places over the next few years and decades… but it’s as clear an association as anyone has.
“This is an extraordinary time of exploration and discovery.”
“Those of us in paleoanthropology could never have imagined ourselves in this age of exploration.” It will continue. The next generation is not afraid to venture out.
“In ways that none of us could have imagined, technology is opening up spaces and places in ways that none of us could have imagined.” It is time to stop obstructing and saying “don’t explore.” This is the time for all of you to encourage us to get out there and see the knowledge for ourselves.”