In honor of the newly discovered Homo naledi species National Geographic will release its inaugural swimsuit issue – a cover featuring the sexy bones of this human ancestor in a skimpy string bikini.

nat geo swimsuit edition

Image courtesy of National Geographic

“The hope is that people will see this cover, it’ll arouse their sexual curiosity, and then they will open up the magazine and read about this literal new kind of human,” said Peter Filliner, one of National Geographic’s editors. “We know we can’t expect people to get excited about this issue on the basis of brand new physical evidence of the evolution and existence of human beings. But we thought a little bikini on the pile of bones – a bikini that shows just enough bone but not too much – could get the readers going ‘Oh yeah! Uh-huh!’”

Reactions to the new cover were mixed at first, as some members of the scientific community were initially skeptical that dressing up a 2.5 million year-old skeleton like a swimsuit model would make sense or be at all appropriate. “I was wary of the swimsuit cover,” says Jonas Barunanen, a leading paleoanthropologist on the Homo naledi discovery team. “We don’t yet know how these individuals died, so sexually objectifying them seemed incredibly disrespectful and creepy. Of course, then I saw the bones in that little bikini…and, uh, let’s just say I was on board. Heh-heh. Yowza. Wooooohf! Somebody-ah-handa-me-a-napkin-to-ah-wipe-ah-me-ah-macaroni!”

The bones were flown from Johannesburg to Los Angeles and laid out in a studio for a four-hour photo shoot with fashion photographer Ellis Sloade. “It was a pretty easy shoot – no running over with water or Diet Coke or shit for the bones. They were chill, the bones. The hardest part was probably wiggling the bikini onto the little pelvis and chest area and then spray-tanning the bones. A couple crumbled into dust, but yeah – it was very fun and sexy.”

Readers will have to purchase the magazine if they want to see the raciest photos from the shoot, including one where the Homo naledi is completely nude.

“Yea, that’s just the original photo, but if we call it naked maybe people will actually care.”

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