Found in the remnants of an underground cave network in South Africa, the partial Australopithecus sediba skeletons are believed to be from a roughly 30-year-old woman and an 8- to 13-year-old boy.
The pre-human pair, who may or may not have been related, apparently fell to their deaths into a chasm littered with corpses of saber-toothed cats and other predators.
The new species may be the wellspring—”sediba” in the local Sotho tribal language—from which our ancestors flowed, the report suggests.
Berger, of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, conjures a different metaphor.
“It’s the opinion of my colleagues and I that [Australopithecus sediba] may very well be the Rosetta stone that unlocks our understanding of the genus Homo,” Berger said in a statement, referring to the artifact that helped decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.