New hominin fossils from the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa
Scott A. Williams, PhD, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, NYU
Monday, October 23, 2017
5:15 pm in S1-149
About the seminar
The first early hominin was discovered at Taung in South Africa over 90 years ago. Since then, thousands of hominin fossils have been discovered in South African caves. Almost a decade ago, a late australopith species, Australopithecus sediba, was named for two partial skeletons discovered at a new site, Malapa. Most recently, thousands of remains, including a partial skeleton, of a new and perplexing species, Homo naledi, were recovered from the Rising Star Cave system. I provide an overview of the discoveries, morphology, and proposed phylogenetic relationships of these new species, and also address controversies concerning their validity as species.
About the speaker
Scott Williams received his PhD from the University of Illinois and is an Assistant Professor at New York University. He studies the evolutionary morphology of the hominin skeleton, with implications for the evolution of upright posture and bipedal locomotion. Scott leads the study of the axial skeleton of Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi.
Related papers: 1) an overview by Chris Stringer of the Dinaledi Chamber that accompanied the original 2015 publication of H. naledi (attached as a PDF and a link to the article below) and 2) The announcement of a new chamber in the Rising Star Cave (Lesedi) containing a partial skeleton ("Neo"), published earlier this year (link below).
Stringer, 2015: https://elifesciences.org/articles/10627
Hawks et al. 2017: https://elifesciences.org/articles/24232