Research regarding the discovery of a new species of human relative shedding light on the origins and diversity of our origins was selected as the second most important scientific story of 2015.
Popular science magazine, Discover, collated the 100 top stories of 2015, and positioned LJMU’s Professor Joel D. Irish’s work with the University of the Witwatersrand, the National Geographic Society and the South African Department of Science and Technology/ National Research Foundation, at number two.
The new species which was discovered, Homo naledi, appeared to intentionally deposit bodies of its dead in a remote cave chamber, a behaviour previously thought limited to humans. Professor Irish worked with the project team investigating the teeth of the new species, which are among the most important parts of the skeleton in determining biological relatedness to modern humans.
Consisting of more than 1,550 numbered fossil elements, the discovery was the single largest fossil hominin find yet made on the continent of Africa.
Read the previous story on the new species online.