New human-like fossils found in South Africa

Part of a composite skeleton of Homo naledi surrounded by some of the hundreds of other fossil elements displayed in Magaliesburg, South Africa, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015.
Themba Hadebe | AP

A group of researchers says that a cache of fossils found in a cave in South Africa in 2013 belongs to a newly discovered species of ancient humans.

On Thursday, researchers revealed that more than 1,550 fossils were found that belong to 15 different individuals of the species, called Homo naledi. The bones indicate a small, human-like figure that may have used tools, walked upright and climbed trees, according to the research results discussed in an article in Science Magazine.

The age of the find has not yet been determined, because they were not encased in rock. Some critics maintain that there is not enough evidence to say that these fossils actually come from a unique species, according to the Guardian.

It is possible that the bones were deposited in the cave as a burial practice, or that a small group of the hominins became trapped in the cave and died there.