Two million years ago, three different early humans— Australopithecus , Paranthropus , and the earliest-known Homo erectus —appear to have lived at the same time in the same place, near the Drimolen Paleocave System. How much these different species interacted remains unknown. But their contemporaneous existence suggests our ancient relations were quite diverse during a key transitional period of African prehistory that saw the last days of Australopithecus and the dawn of H. Australopithecus africanus is the most primitive of this trio. The lineage dates to 3. The species is thought to have died out around 2 million years ago.
Chronological dating , or simply dating , is the process of attributing to an object or event a date in the past, allowing such object or event to be located in a previously established chronology. This usually requires what is commonly known as a "dating method". Several dating methods exist, depending on different criteria and techniques, and some very well known examples of disciplines using such techniques are, for example, history , archaeology , geology , paleontology , astronomy and even forensic science , since in the latter it is sometimes necessary to investigate the moment in the past during which the death of a cadaver occurred. Dating methods are most commonly classified following two criteria: relative dating and absolute dating.
Homo naledi is a species of archaic human discovered in the Rising Star Cave , Cradle of Humankind , South Africa dating to the Middle Pleistocene ,—, years ago. The initial discovery comprises 1, specimens, representing different elements, and at least 15 different individuals. Despite this exceptionally high number of specimens, their classification with other Homo remains unclear. They are estimated to have averaged Nonetheless, H.
With a total of at least 28 individual hominid fossils now firmly dated to , years old, SH is the largest and oldest collection of human remains yet discovered. The bone pit at Sima de los Huesos is at the bottom of the cave, beneath an abrupt vertical shaft measuring between meters 6. That shaft extends downward approximately 13 m At the foot of that ramp is deposit called the Sima de los Huesos, a smoothly oblong chamber measuring 8x4 m 26x13 ft with irregular ceiling heights between m In the roof of the eastern side of the SH chamber is another vertical shaft, which extends upwards some 5 m 16 ft to where it is blocked by cave collapse.