“Everything that we proposed as a hypothesis for the Dinaledi chamber, the Lesedi chamber replicates the same data.” Although the bones may not have arrived in the cave by chance, hard evidence for some kind of burial ritual is still lacking.
“I fail to see how the new chamber and the few [new] specimens within it contribute anything new or meaningful to the prior speculation that engaged in mortuary behaviors.
The researchers were able to rule out falls, wild animals and natural causes as possible reasons for the bones’ presence, indicating that they were likely placed there by “If you thought this was a freak occurrence — freak by definition happens once, and we now have two,” Hawks says.
Aware of the significance of their find, the authors subjected their specimens and the surrounding sediments to multiple dating tests.
They began by dating the sediments that the fossils were found in, and moved on to direct dating of the fossils themselves, subjecting the hominin teeth to electron spin resonance analysis and conducting uranium-thorium decay testing on the bones.
Though the remains were undated at the time, estimates put them at anywhere from 100,000 to several million years old.
This was based on a physical analysis of the bones, which contained a curious mixture of modern and archaic traits.