Berger et al. (2015) established the name Homo naledi, with the DH 1 partial skeleton as the holotype, to accommodate new fossil discoveries recovered from the Dinaledi (Rising Star) cave system, South Africa.
Homo naledi is characterized as having features of both australopiths as well as those more in line with the Homo genus (Berger, 2015). Berger classifies H. naledi as having a similar cranial, foot, and lower limb morphology to that of early Homo species, but a more australopith-like morphology in its torso and proximal femur. The original excavation was the largest collection of a single hominid species found, with 15 discovered individuals representing H. naledi, including the type specimen DH 1 and and paratypes DH 3, DH 4, DH 5, and U.W. 101-377. The name “naledi” itself refers to the Rising Star cave system the type specimen was first discovered in, translating to “star” in the Sotho language. The remains found at the Dinaledi Chamber have been dated to a period between 236 ka and 335 ka (Dirks et al., 2017). A 2017 excavation of the Lesedi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system found at least three additional H. naledi specimens, including the remains of both adults and juveniles (Hawks et al., 2017).