With narration in six languages from some of the explorers and scientists on Berger’s Rising Star expedition‚ viewers can explore and even “virtually” hold fossils from the cave.
The 15‚000 bones found deep inside the cave system at the Sterkfontein site dumbfounded scientists‚ who were struck by Homo naledi’s unusual combination of features‚ the difficulty of dating the species and the theory that it buried its own dead.
Eventually‚ after heated debate and several months of intense research‚ an age of around 250‚000 years was agreed upon‚ while the burying of the dead remains a puzzle to be solved.
That‚ and the unusual features‚ have meant that Homo naledi is a puzzle within a puzzle that will keep scientists busy for generations.
In the meantime‚ the spectacle of the cave and the experience of engaging with the bones can be enjoyed by people across the globe thanks to the new app.
Said Berger: “We are still trying to test those questions. Did they have fire? Did they enter alive with dead individuals? Did they have tools? And if so‚ what were they?
“We now know that Homo naledi is relatively young‚ so what does this mean? The big questions right now are trying to get a handle on the diversity of human ancestry. Up until recently it was seen as a linear process… but now science is showing that this is completely not true.”