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They based this hypothesis in part on the difficulty of accessing the first chamber and the lack of animal marks or bones to suggest animals moving the bones.Well, this second chamber is slightly easier to access, and it contains plenty of animal bones.

That could provide a more conclusive answer to how and humans are related.They also begat other lineages—The dating paper has solid evidence—at least as solid as you can get with ancient bones.“They have thrown basically every available dating method in the book at the remains,” says Justin Adams, a paleontologist at Monash University who has also worked in South African caves.His team named that section of the chamber the Berger Box.bones further complicates Berger’s most controversial hypothesis—that the bodies were intentionally buried in the cave, which suggests some kind of complex culture.“I just don’t understand the rush to put out one hypothesis.”Berger says they did not excavate everything to leave material for future paleoanthropologists with more advanced technologies.

It’s still early days for the excavation of this cave system.

The unique completeness of these fossils also allows paleoanthropologists to answer some questions that have often eluded them with less complete sets in the past.

The set includes over a dozen individuals, both adults and children. The discovery that another hominin, so different from us, lived as recently as 236,000 years ago adds more mystery to the question of why humans are the only surviving members of this once diverse family.

The hominin, a new species the team christened , was an unusual mix of the old and modern.

Their heads were small, suggesting an early hominin perhaps more than a million years old.

Antón is excited to see if the bones can be used to reconstruct how the moved and walked and lived. More than one paleoanthropologist I talked to likened humans to invasive species—like rats or pigeons, flexible in diet and behavior.