Cradle of Humankind yields another major discovery in evolution of mankind

The partial skull of a Homo Naledi child, nicknamed 'Letti', was discovered at the Rising Star cave, the site of other major discoveries, back in September 2017. However, the information has only been made public now.

This photograph taken in Johannesburg on 4 November 2021 shows a full-scale reproduction of the skull of a hominid named Leti, named after a setswana word "Letimela" meaning "the lost one", found inside the Rising Star Cave System at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site near Maropeng. Picture: Wikus de Wet/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - There has been another major discovery at the Cradle of Humankind. This time it's the partial skull of a Homo Naledi child nicknamed "Letti".

Professor Lee Berger of Wits University and a team of international researchers made the discovery at the Rising Star cave, the site of other major discoveries, back in September 2017.

However, the information has only been made public now.

The parts of the skull and teeth of the child are believed to belong to a four-year-old who died almost 250,000 years ago. The infant's full name is Letimela, which means "the lost one" in Setswana.

Berger said that this was a very important find.

"People should care about the story, things like little Letti and all the stories of human evolution because it's our story. It's no different than understanding who our parents were or grandparents were, because you'll understand that in understanding that, you'll understand what makes you what you are, your identity. As we explore, there's a deep shared human past. We are understanding our shared identity, why we are the way we are and who we are," Berger explained.

South Africa has been the center of human discovery since 1925 with major findings at the site in the northwest of Johannesburg.

Berger said such finds showed that there was much more to be revealed.