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"We used double blinds wherever possible," says Professor Jan Kramers of the University of Johannesburg, a uranium dating specialist. Hannah Hilbert-Wolf, a geologist from James Cook University who also worked on the Dinaledi Chamber, noted that it was crucial to figure out how the sediments within the Dinaledi Chamber are layered, in order to build a framework for understanding all of the dates obtained."Of course we were surprised at the young age, but as we realised that all the geological formations in the chamber were young, the U-series and ESR results were perhaps less of a surprise in the end," added Professor Eric Roberts, from James Cook University and Wits, who is one of the few geologists to have ever entered the Dinaledi Chamber, due to the tight 18cm-wide constraints of the entrance chute. Marina Elliott, Exploration Scientist at Wits and one of the original "underground astronauts" on the 2013 Rising Star Expedition, says she had always felt that the naledi fossils were 'young'.

The team was led by Professor Lee Berger of The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a National Geographic Explorer in Residence.

"I've excavated hundreds of the bones of and Pleistocene hominin evolution in subequatorial Africa, the team discuss the importance of finding such a primitive species at such a time and place.

They noted that the discovery will have a significant impact on our interpretation of archaeological assemblages and understanding which species made them.

In fact, I watched Lee Berger being stuck for almost an hour, trying to get out of the narrow underground squeeze of the Lesedi Chamber." Berger eventually had to be extracted using ropes tied to his wrists.

The presence of a second chamber, distant from the first, containing multiple individuals of was using dark, remote places to cache its dead," says Hawks.

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