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Species of ancient humans and the extinct relatives of our ancestors are typically described from a limited number of fossils. More than 1500 fossils representing at least 15 individuals of this species were unearthed from the Rising Star cave system in South Africa between 20.

These age results demonstrate that a morphologically primitive hominin, Homo naledi, survived into the later parts of the Pleistocene in Africa, and indicate a much younger age for the Homo naledi fossils than have previously been hypothesized based on their morphology.

Two dating scenarios for the fossils were tested by varying the assumed levels of Rn loss in the encasing sediments: a maximum age scenario provides an average age for the two least altered fossil teeth of 253 82/–70 ka, whilst a minimum age scenario yields an average age of 200 70/–61 ka.

We consider the maximum age scenario to more closely reflect conditions in the cave, and therefore, the true age of the fossils.

The main cavity forming the Dinaledi Chamber is ~15 m long with variable widths not exceeding 2.5 meters (Figure 1b), and expands near the intersection with a crosscutting passage, which is the location of the main excavation site to date (Figure 1b).