Morphological affinities of Homo naledi with other Plio-Pleistocene hominins: a phenetic approach

<div><p>ABSTRACT Recent fossil material found in Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, was initially described as a new species of genus Homo, namely Homo naledi. The original study of this new material has pointed to a close proximity with Homo erectus. More recent investigations have, to some extent, confirmed this assignment. Here we present a phenetic analysis based on dentocranial metric variables through Principal Components Analysis and Cluster Analysis based on these fossils and other Plio-Pleistocene hominins. Our results concur that the Dinaledi fossil hominins pertain to genus Homo. However, in our case, their nearest neighbors are Homo habilis and Australopithecus sediba. We suggest that Homo naledi is in fact a South African version of Homo habilis, and not a new species. This can also be applied to Australopithecus sediba.</p></div>