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Figure 1: Homo Naledi (YouTube, 2016)

 

Using the Information Fluency for the discovery of Homo Naledi – our new human relative:

Information fluency relates to our ability to instinctively and unconsciously elucidate information in all forms and formats to withdraw crucial knowledge so that one can extract the significance of the information to perform everyday tasks (IIE, 2015).

Because of the enormous amount of information readily available online and around us, it is easy to become lost within a sea of irrelevant or even outdated facts and data. So how do you know what information is admissible and which facts are still relevant?

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Figure 2: Comparison of skull features of Homo naledi and other early human species (Natural History Museum, United Kingdom, 2015)

To determine this one needs to follow the information fluency process.
On the 10th of September 2015, it was announced that a new species of human ancestor was discovered. What made this discovery even more fascinating than just shedding light on where our species comes from, is the fact that this new species, Homo naledi as they called it, intentionally placed the bodies of its dead into a small chamber within the cradle of humankind. Although it had a small brain and body, this species seemed to be more human-like than most of the other Homo-classified species.

In light of this new information scientist needed to ASK themselves, when did it live? Where do they fit into our human family tree? And how did its bones get into this chamber? (Photograph Mark Thiessen and ELLIOT ROSS, 2015).

By asking the good questions, we will be able to get good answers (IIE, 2015).

Although the first discovery was made in 2013, the scientist had to ACQUIRE as much information as possible so that they could prioritise the search strategy to filter through the relevant information and take smart notes. Because of fossil records being rather ambiguous, scientists had to acquire information dating back to 1964 so that their findings could be thoroughly analysed.

Once they had the raw data and information, which was yielded from their search results, the scientists involved had to ANALYSE the said information so to create a cohesive picture of whether this new species should form part of the homo genus. This would require them to separate fact from fiction and opinion.

This knowledge that had been acquired could then be APPLIED to their problem of deciding when this species lived, why it deposited its dead into a narrow cave and how they are able to fit into our family tree and become part of the Homo genus.

Humans believed for centuries that they had been the only species to bury their dead, until the discovery of Homo Naledi. They gathered information from multiple sources and scientists for two years to find the most relevant information about this new discovery. Before publishing their findings, the scientist involved would have had to ASSESS the process they went through, and decide on whether they could have done better in analysing the information gathered and whether these results would have affected the outcome of their discovery.

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Figure 3: Dinaledi skeletal specimens (Berger et al., 2015)

 

References:

Anon. 2015. Digital Citizenship. Module Manual. The Independent Institute of Education: unpublished.

Berger, L., Hawks, J., de Ruiter, D., Churchill, S., Schmid, P., Delezene, L., Kivell, T., Garvin, H., Williams, S., DeSilva, J., Skinner, M., Musiba, C., Cameron, N., Holliday, T., Harcourt-Smith, W., Ackermann, R., Bastir, M., Bogin, B., Bolter, D., Brophy, J., Cofran, Z., Congdon, K., Deane, A., Dembo, M., Drapeau, M., Elliott, M., Feuerriegel, E., Garcia-Martinez, D., Green, D., Gurtov, A., Irish, J., Kruger, A., Laird, M., Marchi, D., Meyer, M., Nalla, S., Negash, E., Orr, C., Radovcic, D., Schroeder, L., Scott, J., Throckmorton, Z., Tocheri, M., VanSickle, C., Walker, C., Wei, P. and Zipfel, B. (2015). Homo naledi , a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa. eLife, [online] 4. Available at: https://elifesciences.org/content/4/e09560 [Accessed 25 May 2016].

Natural History Museum, United Kingdom, (2015). Comparison of skull features of Homo naledi and other early human species. [image] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_naledi#/media/File:Comparison_of_skull_features_of_Homo_naledi_and_other_early_human_species.jpg [Accessed 25 May 2016].

Photograph Mark Thiessen, N. and ELLIOT ROSS, (2015). This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?. [online] News.nationalgeographic.com. Available at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150910-human-evolution-change/ [Accessed 23 May 2016].

Room, N. (2015). New Species of Human Relative Discovered in South African Cave. [online] National Geographic Society Press Room. Available at: http://press.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/10/homo_naledi/ [Accessed 23 May 2016].

YouTube. (2016). Антропологи официально представили новый древний вид человека. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFYIo7Xri0U [Accessed 25 May 2016].

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