Underground Astronauts

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Cross-section of the Rising Star Cave system

Underground Astronauts is the name given to a group of six scientists [1] who excavated the bones of Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber in South Africa.[2][3] Hannah Morris, Marina Elliott, Becca Peixotto, Alia Gurtov, K. Lindsay (then Eaves) Hunter,[4] and Elen Feuerriegel were selected by expedition leader Lee Rogers Berger.[5][6]

In November 2013, the National Geographic Society and the University of the Witwatersrand funded an expedition called Rising Star Expedition for a twenty-one day excavation at the cave,[7] followed by a second expedition in March 2014 for a 4-week excavation in the Dinaledi Chamber. In total, the expedition retrieved 1,550 pieces of bone belonging to at least fifteen individuals, found within 1 m2 of clay-rich sediments.[8] They entered a narrow opening in the cave to reach the chamber where the bones were located,[9] and as the expedition was dangerous, they were named the Underground Astronauts.[10]

Excavator team[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "These 6 women risked death for an amazing scientific discovery". Tech Insider. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  2. ^ "Meet the "underground astronauts"". CNN. 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  3. ^ Bennett, Amanda; Geographic, National (2015-09-17). "Wanted: Fit, Fearless Scientist for Huge Underground Find". National Geographic News. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  4. ^ a b Hunter, K. Lindsay (1 Sep 2017). "K. Lindsay Hunter". LinkedIn. Retrieved 1 Sep 2017.
  5. ^ Feltman, Rachel (September 10, 2015). "Meet the six female 'underground astronauts' who recovered our newest relative". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  6. ^ Smith, David (10 September 2015). "'Small spelunkers required': the ad that led to the discovery of Homo naledi". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  7. ^ Bascomb, Bobby (10 September 2015). "Archaeology's Disputed Genius". PBS. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  8. ^ Howley, Andrew (6 November 2013). "Rising Star Expedition: Prehistory in the Making". National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 9 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  9. ^ McKenzie, David; Wende, Hamilton (2015-09-10). "Homo naledi: New species of human ancestor discovered". CNN. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  10. ^ eNCA (2015-09-14). "'Underground astronaut' shares Homo naledi experience". eNCA. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  11. ^ a b "Who are the Underground Astronauts?". EWN. Retrieved 2016-01-05.

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