"New pre-human species discovered in South Africa. Total keg-party day for paleontologists worldwide," tweets New York Times columnist Ginia Bellafante, linking to this breaking news from none other than science beat veteran John Noble Wilford on the newest addition to our human lineage (at 21,000+ shares right now!). "Say hello to Homo naledi, a new species in humanity's family tree who buried their dead," entreats NYT's Des Shoe. "Homo naledi, named for local word for 'star'," adds freelance journalist Hannah Waters. Our latest human ancestor, by the way, stood about five feet tall, almost 100 pounds, and boasted an orange-sized brain. "Reason #276 why exploring caves is awesome," concludes Elysia Brenner. In other takes, The Atlantic details how six tiny cavers and 15 odd skeletons led to one amazing new species of ancient human and National Geographic digs into how this face changes the human story.
That's not the only big news making waves this morning, of course. There's also that eye opener of a Daily Beast scoop from 50 spies who say ISIS intelligence was cooked. "Wow. Over 50 intel analysts have formally complained that their reports on ISIS have been altered by senior officials," reacts data security journalist Trevor Timm. "This is serious, serious stuff. For God's sake, let it not be politicized," pleads political analyst Jeff Greenfield. "Surface story: CIA ISIS intel 'cooked' before submission to policymakers. Deep story: IC in rebellion against Obama," comes the theory from this guy. "I'm so old I remember when cooking intelligence reports for political reasons was grounds for impeachment," quips Mark Hemingway with The Weekly Standard. "This explains why Gen. Lloyd Austin has issued bullshit about Mosul/Ramadi, territory held by ISIS, retraining Iraqis," realizes Spencer Ackerman at Guardian US.
In a mortifying case of mistaken identity, ex-tennis star James Blake was mistakenly tackled by white cops. "Among the many things messed up about this #JamesBlake situation is feeling relieved he wasn't killed," points out ESPN's Jemele Hill. A new policy from the Justice Department emphasizes the prosecution of individual employees, not just their companies. "What a sucky job vice president in charge of going to jail would be," snarks Bill Hammond with the New York Daily News. And The Marshall Project just put out a complex and beautiful piece of multimedia journalism on capital punishment called "The Next to Die." They tweet, "We couldn’t find a detailed, up-to-date schedule of upcoming executions. So we built one."