Human Ancestor Naledi Was Handy With Tools: Scientists - NBC Bay Area
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Human Ancestor Naledi Was Handy With Tools: Scientists

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    A composite skeleton of Homo naledi surrounded by some of the hundreds of other fossil elements displayed in Magaliesburg, South Africa, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. Scientists say they’ve discovered a new member of the human family tree, revealed by a huge trove of bones in a barely accessible, pitch-dark chamber of a cave in South Africa, showing a surprising mix of human-like and more primitive characteristics.

    Homo naledi, the ancient human ancestor whose fossils have been retrieved from a South African cave, may have been handy with tools and walked much like a person, according to scientists who examined its well-preserved foot and hand bones, NBC News reported.

    Its foot and hand anatomy shared many characteristics with our species but possessed some primitive traits useful for tree climbing, the researchers said on Tuesday. Scientists last month announced the discovery of this previously unknown species in the human linage in a cave northwest of Johannesburg. The new research offers fresh insight into a creature that is providing valuable clues about human evolution. Paleoanthropologist Tracy Kivell of Britain's University of Kent said it boasted a hand "specialized for fine, powerful manipulation."