Expanded explorations of the Dinaledi Subsystem, Rising Star Cave System, South Africa

Elliott, Marina C., Makhubela, Tebogo V., Brophy, Juliet K., Churchill, Steven E., Peixotto, Becca, Feuerriegel, Elen M., Morris, Hannah, Van Rooyen, Dirk, Ramalepa, Maropeng, Tsikoane, Mathabela, Kruger, Ashley, Spandler, Carl, Kramers, Jan, Roberts, Eric, Dirks, Paul H.G.M., Hawks, John, and Berger, Lee R. (2021) Expanded explorations of the Dinaledi Subsystem, Rising Star Cave System, South Africa. PaleoAnthropology, 2021 (1). pp. 15-22.

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The Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system has yielded a large assemblage of fossil hominin material, attributed to Homo naledi. The unusual taphonomic and geological situation of the assemblage suggested that the remains may have been deliberately deposited in the chamber. However, the route and mechanism of deposition of the remains within the Dinaledi Chamber are still uncertain. During the 2017—2018 field seasons, we expanded explorations of the passages surrounding the Dinaledi Chamber. These explorations improved our understanding of the cave’s spatial complexity, necessitating a revision of the way the spaces are named and described. The work supported the hypothesis that there is no alternate entrance into the system other than the Chute. The work also identified new fossil deposits in several remote passages, three of which contain material attributable to H. naledi. Here, we clarify the definition of the Dinaledi Subsystem and provide terminology for new fossil localities found in this portion of the Rising Star cave system. These results emphasize the complex depositional environment of the Dinaledi Subsystem and raise new questions about the process and timing of the fossil accumulations.

Item ID: 70483
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1545-0031
Copyright Information: © 2021 Paleoanthropology Society & European Society for the study of Human Evolution.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP140104282
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2021 09:00
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370506 Palaeontology (incl. palynology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280107 Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences @ 100%
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