The Smithsonian gives Homo Naledi its own Species Page

I’ve been fascinated with the story of Homo Naledi and how it impacts our understanding of our past with now up to at least 18 different individuals. They share many common features with Homo Sapiens but are different enough to confuse various Christian organizations (courtesy of @Joel_Duff) :

One of the mysteries of Homo Naledi is how the bones got there. They seem to have intentionally been brought there, but by who and why are questions whose answers presently elude us (see the chamber):

The Smithsonian Species page has a summary of what we know, questions we have and publications for reference:

Whatever they are called at the end of the day, there were at least five different populations of the genus homo alive at the same time in the not so distant past (Sapiens, Erectus, Neanderthalensis, Florensis, Naledi, etc.):

So what do you think? How do such discoveries impact you or what do you think about them? How does homo naledi fit in to how you think about our past?


Honestly, I’m still not sure what to think about homo naledi. Embracing EC hasn’t necessarily made these kinds of questions easier to answer, at least not for me. But it is interesting to read about, and I’m trying to keep an open mind.

I just opened up the web page and my 3-year-old daughter said “That person’s face – it’s funny!” So, at least one of us is fairly confident in her answer to the humanity question. :wink:


Wow, this is a great post, It will take me some time to digest. I look forward to it. Thanks.

Wonderful! H. naledi was discovered several years ago, but it was another interesting piece to the puzzle of humanity’s past.


Homo naledi is still one of the most important and mysterious (along with the H. floresiensis - the hobbit) hominid fossils. It is a challenge to everyone. Here is a more recent version of my chart that just looks at how this fossil has confounded YECs. I should point out that even since I published this chart, Jean O’Micks has switched his opinion from “fully human” and embraced the AiG “fully ape” view.


Thank you! I updated the OP with a more up to date chart. Homo Naledi seems to be more similar to Florensis when viewed from this analysis of blood flow rate to the brain and skull size:

Original paper:


Interesting article. With naledi’s “mosaic” of ancient and more recent features, the early guesses at the age of the fossils were in the range of 2 million years. A 2015 article in New Scientist announcing the find put it this way:

The team refers to the fossils’ mixture of features as “anatomical mosaic”. We have previously seen such a mosaic in Australopithecus sediba, a 2-million-year-old hominin that (Lee) Berger and his colleagues excavated in 2008 from the Malapa cave, a few kilometres away. “Naledi is almost the mirror of sediba,” says Berger. “Almost everywhere in the sediba skeleton where you see primitive features, in naledi you see derived features. And almost everywhere that sediba is derived, naledi is primitive.”

Although it was just about possible to dismiss A. sediba, with its assortment of ancient and modern features, as a quirk of human evolution, the new find hints that such “mosaicism” is not the exception in early humans but the rule, says Berger.

That has implications for how we interpret other early human fossil finds representing the transition from Australopithecus to Homo, he says.

I suspect that naledi did originate somewhere around 2 million years ago, but we may never know for certain.


Thanks very much for this, @pevaquark and @joel_duff. It’s very revealing to read the comparison among the 3 main YEC viewpoints. It sounds like Kurt Wise and Todd Wood do have some paleontology training (Wise with Gould, I think I heard?) and it’s interesting that they are the ones who put H naledi down as human. It’s very interesting to read about the mix of modern and ancient parts. I am not sure what to make of them. Was there a hint of interbreeding, then? Would one ever find evidence that could corroborate or rule that out?

I found it interesting that Denis Lamoureux, @dol with doctorates in both theology and evolutionary biology, spoke of four ancient Near East motifs:

  1. De Novo Creation
  2. Lost Idyllic Age (a Fall)
  3. Great Flood, and
  4. Tribal Formation (with a founding male)

He felt that God used these motifs to communicate truths. Thus, if one doesn’t believe that God intended a Fall or Adam, then I guess one could accept that God would interact with any species based on their ability to understand with Him (intellectually, that is).

It’s a conjecture, anyway.

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