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Title: The age of Homo naledi and associated sediments in the Rising Star Cave, South Africa
Authors: Dirks, Paul H. G. M.
Roberts, Eric M.
Hilbert-Wolf, Hannah
Kramers, Jan D.
Hawks, John
Dosseto, Anthony
Duval, Mathieu
Elliott, Marina C.
Evans, Mary
Grün, Rainer
Hellström, John
Herries, Andy I. R.
Joannes-Boyau, Renaud
Makhubela, Tebogo Vincent
Placzek, Christa J.
Robbins, Jessie
Spandler, Carl
Wiersma, Jelle
Woodhead, John
Berger, Lee R.
Keywords: Homo naledi;Rising Star Cave;Cradle of Humankind;U-Th;ESR;OSL;Paleomagnetism
Issue Date: May-2017
Publisher: eLife Sciences Publications
Citation: eLife, 2017, 6: e24231
Abstract: New ages for flowstone, sediments and fossil bones from the Dinaledi Chamber are presented. 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. This result has been confirmed independently by dating three H. naledi teeth with combined U-series and electron spin resonance (US-ESR) dating. Two dating scenarios for the fossils were tested by varying the assumed levels of 222Rn loss in the encasing sediments: a maximum age scenario provides an average age for the two least altered fossil teeth of 253 +82/–70 ka, whilst a minimum age scenario yields an average age of 200 +70/–61 ka. We consider the maximum age scenario to more closely reflect conditions in the cave, and therefore, the true age of the fossils. By combining the US-ESR maximum age estimate obtained from the teeth, with the U-Th age for the oldest flowstone overlying Homo naledi fossils, we have constrained the depositional age of Homo naledi to a period between 236 ka and 335 ka. These age results demonstrate that a morphologically primitive hominin, Homo naledi, survived into the later parts of the Pleistocene in Africa, and indicate a much younger age for the Homo naledi fossils than have previously been hypothesized based on their morphology.
ISSN: 2050-084X
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Datación por Resonancia Paramagnética Electrónica
Series de Uranio
Geocronología y Geología

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