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The Dinaledi Chamber, which contains most of the fossils of H.naledi, is ~30 m below surface and ~80 m in a straight line from the nearest present-day opening to the surface (Figure 1a).The remains are exceptionally well preserved and represent the largest collection of fossils from a single primitive hominin species ever discovered in Africa. naledi fossils occur without a direct association with non-hominin macrofossil remains, and are found deep inside the difficult to access U. The Dinaledi Chamber is characterised by a sedimentary environment that is geochemically and sedimentologically distinct from the rest of the Rising Star Cave (Dirks et al., 2015), and the fossiliferous deposit it contains is profoundly different from other known hominin-bearing cave assemblages in the Co H (e.g., Reynolds and Kibii, 2011; Dirks et al., 2010; Pickering et al., 2011a; Dirks and Berger, 2013; Bruxelles et al., 2014).The fossils occur as a dense bone accumulation in mostly unconsolidated muddy sediment that largely originated from within the cave through weathering of the dolomite host rock (Dirks et al., 2015). In this paper we present results of uranium-thorium (U-Th) disequilibrium, electron spin resonance (ESR), radiocarbon, and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating in combination with palaeomagnetic analyses, to provide ages for the fossils and surrounding deposits in the Dinaledi Chamber, and build upon the geological context described in Dirks et al. Dates acquired via U-Th and ESR techniques were obtained using a double blind approach for each technique to ensure robust, reproducible results, with each laboratory using their own analytical and computational approach.Approaches taken by each laboratory that contributed to this paper are described in detail in the methodology section. naledi and early Homo) and associated mammals, reptiles, and birds (e.g., Vrba, 1975, 1995; Brain, 1993; Tobias, 2000; Berger et al., 2010, 2015).The age of the hominins in the Dinaledi Chamber has implications for our understanding of the mode and tempo of the morphological evolution of hominins (Hawks and Berger, 2016), raising questions about evolutionary stasis and the role of refugia. For the past 3 million years, hominin-bearing deposits in caves formed in broadly similar settings, involving debris cone accumulations near cave openings (Partridge, 1973; Wilkinson, 1985; Brain, 1993; Pickering et al., 2007; de Ruiter et al., 2009; Dirks and Berger, 2013; Herries and Adams, 2013; Dirks et al., 2010, 2016b; Bruxelles et al., 2014; Stratford et al., 2014), with deposits cemented by carbonate-rich waters dripping from cave ceilings (e.g., Wilkinson, 1985; Pickering et al., 2011b).Importantly, the most crucial tests were carried out at independent laboratories around the world, and the scientists conducted the tests without knowing the results of the other laboratories. took these extra steps to make sure that the results obtained were reproducible and unbiased.The estimated dates are much more recent than many had predicted, and mean that H.
We combined optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediments with U-Th and palaeomagnetic analyses of flowstones to establish that all sediments containing Homo naledi fossils can be allocated to a single stratigraphic entity (sub-unit 3b), interpreted to be deposited between 236 ka and 414 ka.naledi was alive at the same time as the earliest members of our own species – which most likely evolved between 300,000 and 200,000 years ago. naledi survived more recently than many would have predicted, while Hawks et al. naledi fossils from a separate chamber in the same cave system.These new findings demonstrate why it can be unwise to try to predict the age of a fossil based only on its appearance, and emphasize the importance of dating specimens via independent tests. The fossil assemblage attributed to Homo naledi from the Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind, UNESCO World Heritage Area, South Africa (Co H) (Berger et al., 2015), represents one of the richest and most unusual taphonomic assemblages yet discovered in the hominin fossil record (Dirks et al., 2015). It has never been connected to another landform throughout the Quaternary, a period lasting from 2.6 million to 12,000 years ago. is a "remarkable discovery," Matthew Tocheri, Canada Research Chair in Human Origins and an associate professor of anthropology at Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada, wrote in an accompanying perspective.But this discovery "will no doubt ignite plenty of scientific debate over the coming weeks, months and years," Tocheri wrote.