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Article  No evidence Homo naledi buried dead & carved art as portrayed in Netflix documentary

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'No scientific evidence' that ancient human relative buried dead & carved art as portrayed in Netflix documentary…

INTRO: There's "no convincing scientific evidence" behind the extraordinary claims that the ancient human relative Homo naledi deliberately buried their dead and engraved rocks deep in a South African cave around 300,000 years ago, a group of archaeologists argues in a new commentary.

H. naledi became a lightning rod of controversy earlier this year after a team claimed the extinct hominin with an orange-size brain carried its dead into the Rising Star cave system, lit fires and engraved abstract patterns and shapes onto the walls — complex behaviors previously known only in larger-brained modern humans (Homo sapiens) and our close cousins.

The team courted backlash, in part, because they announced their controversial findings in a conference speech and three preprint studies that weren't peer-reviewed, which frustrated some scientists, National Geographic reported at the time. The online journal eLife accepted the preprints, initially posted to bioRxiv in June, for a public peer-review assessment, which concluded that there was "incomplete" evidence behind the claims.

A hit Netflix documentary featuring the discoveries, called "Unknown: Cave of Bones" (2023), dropped on July 17, less than a week after eLife posted the preprints and critiques.

Now, a team of researchers has looked at the three eLife studies in detail and argued in a traditionally peer-reviewed commentary, published Nov. 10 in the Journal of Human Evolution, that no convincing scientific evidence was ever presented for deliberate burial or rock art... (MORE - details)

UNKNOWN: Cave of Bones ...

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