Hominid Hype and Homo Naledi: Did Scientists Really Discover a Human Ancestor?
Indeed, just four years ago Australopithecus sediba — also discovered and promoted by Berger — was the transitional form du jure between the australopithecines and our own genus Homo. Yet sediba had a very different set of traits from naledi. If the same researchers now want to advocate Homo naledi as the new “transitional form,” they must radically revise their evolutionary story. Both species been called a “human ancestor,” in recent years, but both claims cannot be true.
Another major challenge to claims for Homo naledi as a transitional form is the fact that the age of these newly reported fossils is currently totally unknown. For all we presently know, the fossils could be very young (say, less than 250,000 years old), and far removed from any hypothetical evolutionary transition between Australopithecus and Homo.
Homo naledi’s promoters are suggesting it is between 2.5 and 3 million years old. But that date isn’t the result of an objective geological dating analysis. Rather, that date is driven strictly by evolutionary considerations, because we have very few bones from that time period and very little to document the supposed transition between the apelike australopithecines and the humanlike members of Homo. More.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (human evolution)