“It poses us with the question of what it means to be human.” This declaration was made by anthropologist Agustín Fuentes at the beginning of Unknown: The Cave of Bones, and is the documentary throughout. It is a refrain through It’s the kind of statement that can sound mundane and grandiose, especially in the context of a science show, but here it has a weight that feels viscerally reinforced through the progression of the film.
Unknown: Cave of Bones, directed by Mark Manucci, focuses on recent expeditions to South African caves where the skeletons of ancient human relatives rest. Homo naledi. Archaeologists have concluded that the naledi may have existed 335,000 years ago and used ritual burials unprecedented for such an ancient species.
As the team unearths evidence, this documentary provides a ripe window into the process of scientific discovery. Above all, the film offers a kind of moving story told through a cave. According to researchers including Fuentes and paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, the naledi risked their lives and limbs to mourn their dead.
In this sense, experts say, challenging what makes us human is to challenge our own most basic traits: to love, to grieve, to respect life, and also to It is also a reminder that we hope to see you again. .
Unknown: Bone Cave
Unrated. Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes. Watch it on Netflix.