Big Picture Science Radio Show: Going All to Species

Going All to Species

Going All to SpeciesMeet your new relatives.   The fossilized bones of Homo naledi are unique for their sheer number, but they may also be fill a special slot in our ancestry: the first of our genus Homo.   Sporting modern hands and feet but only a tiny brain, this creature may link us and our ape-like ancestors.  

Some anthropologists hail the discovery as that of a new hominid species.  Not all their colleagues agree.  Find out what’s at stake in the debate. 

Also, the scientist who helped retrieve the fossils describes her perilous crawl through a cave with only ten inches of elbow room.  And a radical theory about what these old bones might mean: could they be from a burial two million years ago?

Guests:

  • Marina Elliott  – Paleoanthropologist, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • Carl Ward – Biological anthropologist, University of Missouri
  • John Hawks - Anthropologist, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Tim White - Anthropologist, University of California, Berkeley