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Homo naledi not as old as originally thought?

Canadian researchers say Homo naledi lived 912,000 years ago, rather than 2 million years.

The discovery of Homo naledi, an early human relative, raised questions about human evolution and the birth of consciousness. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - New scientific research out of Canada has suggested that Homo naledi fossils may not be as old as originally thought.

The discovery of Homo naledi, an early human relative, raised questions about human evolution and the birth of consciousness.

WATCH: The Homo naledi species which was unveiled to the world in Maropeng, has opened a door to a new debate on what makes humans unique

Now researchers from the Fraser University say statistical comparisons to data collected from skull and tooth measurements of at least 10 other hominid species propose Homo naledi lived only 912,000 years ago.

Initial estimates dated fossil findings back to nearly two million years.

The new research which appears in the Journal of Human Evolution, says there are no signs that bones from Homo naledi could be linked to any variant of homo erectus, which lived about two million years ago.

But Wits Professor Francis Thackeray says this could suggest the species evolved some two million years ago, but maintained its form for more than a million years.

"I'm not concerned about the fact that they have got a new date; in fact, it's very exciting [because] it suggests that they may be very similar forms continuing for a period of time."

The official age of the fossil finds is expected to be released later this year following a series of further tests.

LISTEN: Homo naledi revelations could rattle other theories

To view EWN's Homo naledi special feature, click here.