Face-to-Face with Homo floresiensis

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Dr Susan Hayes, a facial anthropologist and an honorary senior research fellow at the University of Wollongong in Australia, has reported results of the forensic facial reconstruction of mysterious Homo floresiensis, a primitive hominin discovered in 2003 on the Indonesian island of Flores and nicknamed the Hobbit.


Dr Hayes works predominantly with archaeological remains of anatomically modern humans, including the Lapita People (Vanuatu), the Amerindian Huarpe (Argentina), and the first Maori to inhabit New Zealand. 

In her new study, Dr Hayes has used so-called facial approximation techniques to show how Homo floresiensis might have once looked.

“In the media it’s often called ‘facial reconstruction’, but because I’m evidence-based and work in archaeological science, we prefer the term ‘facial approximation’,” Dr Hayes said.

Dr Hayes described the facial approximation as an extraordinary challenge working on an archaic hominin.

“She’s taken me a bit longer than I’d anticipated, has caused more than a few headaches along the way, but I’m pleased with both the methodological development and the final results. She’s not what you’d call pretty, but she is definitely distinctive,” said Dr Hayes, who presented the results on December 10 at the 2012 Conference of the Australian Archaeological Association.

“The face looked more modern than he expected,” Dr Darren Curnoe of the University of New South Wales, a human evolution specialist who was not involved in the reconstruction project, said in the interview with the Conversation. “The bones are really quite primitive looking and look a bit like pre-humans that lived two or three million years ago but this new construction looks, to me, surprisingly modern.”

Written By: Sergio Prostak
continue to source article at sci-news.com

13 COMMENTS

  1. I think this picture is so ‘approximate’ as to be completely useless and even misguiding. The hair, the ears, the nose, eyes and lips are all features which have been depicted in this portrait  based on no evidence. It seems the artist has just thrown in modern human features everywhere that guess work is involved. Even if it was a modern human skull we would have no way to tell if the individual had a widow’s peak or not and we actually know what modern humans look like! The only way any useful information can be gained from this picture is to disregard all the detail and look at the basic shape of the face which we can do probably just as well by looking at the skull. A pathetic result in my opinion.

  2. Also, take example of the the male orangutan. When a male becomes dominant he grows those huge plates on the side of his face yet the skulls of a male with face plates and without are indistinguishable and someone recreating an orangutan face a million years from now would not be able to guess about the face shape by comparing to a gorilla or chimp.

  3.  Martin_C:

    I think you are being a bit harsh here.  There is some solid science backing up these sorts of approximations such as how big attachment areas for different facial muscles etc.  True, perhaps the eyes may have less whites visible (but there is good reason to believe early humans use this to help communicate).  As for hair style.  These techniques have been used successfully in forensic science to identify people based upon this.   Do you extend your dismissal to any illustration done of dinosaurs or early sea creatures?  They haven’t claimed to know exactly what they looked like.

  4. It appears to have modern human bias in the reconstruction of it’s appearance, but in terms of the meat on the animal; it’s probably close. You have 4 genus of great apes to work with, the basics are not as difficult as with groups that are compleatly extinct like pterosaurs, it’s the details you can never be 100%, probably not even close. When you look at orangutangs, gorillas, humans and chimpanzees, they each vary alot from one another despite sharing common ancestry not that long ago.
     
    Let say hypothetically all the great apes (Pan, Homo, Gorilla, Pongo) were to go extinct and no trance of human achivement was left. If an advanced species (Like em, theropod dinosaurs again; highly intelligence giant crows or something) were to evolve and discover all 4 compleat fossil skeletons, the reconstruction would likely be based off of lesser apes and more or less old world monkeys. Humans and Gorillas would likely be reconstructed to look like large terrestrial gibbon. Possibly using an old world monkey, the mandrill as an example, they might even give vibrant colored skin to the reconstructions as they might hypothesize that these unsually large brained primates used color as a way to display and to attract a mate. There would probably be a debate on whether humans were capable of complex speech or used simple vocal calls to signal each other from predators. The only thing they would get very close at would again, be the meat on the bones. (On another note, all theropod dinosaurs discovered would have crow bias and Tyrannosaurus rex would be covered in black feathers.)

  5. Kearth
    Why don’t you project a face of an Anglo white American onto the face of Homo Floresiensis?
    Is it because it looks better on a Japanese maquac?

      OP – Homo floresiensis, a primitive hominin discovered in 2003 on the Indonesian island of Flores.

    It would be be reasonable to expect a dark skin in tropical areas like Indonesia!

  6. No wonder…The discovery happened not long after the 911 attacks… Well, at least, the species are advanced enough to knock down 2 highest structures on the planet… By the way, truly intellectually advanced species realized, a long time ago, that the earth is NOT the place, where such buildings should be constructed, in the first place! I guess if you’re truly advanced, you easily build a flying saucer, and start life on another planet so you won’t have to harbor so much hate towards certain people? I guess you’re not advanced enough for that….Oh..poor thing!

    Speaking about “advanced”…Egyptians were considered highly advanced in civil engineering, however, not that many people trust their judgement as far as their world-outlook is concerned.

  7. Has either science or religion ever tried to explain why humans have such violent reaction to the human body? Why does the human body, in general, triggers so many, usually, negative emotions, feelings and associations? Is the human body even supposed to be THAT reactive to another human body?

  8. Kearth – By the way, truly intellectually advanced species realized, a long time ago, that the earth is NOT the place, where such buildings should be constructed, in the first place!

    While neither Homo florensis nor H sapiens have essential  need for very high rise buildings, I don’t see your point in suggesting there is some reason engineers should not master such constructions where they can prove useful.

      I guess if you’re truly advanced, you easily build a flying saucer, and start life on another planet so you won’t have to harbor so much hate towards certain people? I guess you’re not advanced enough for that….Oh..poor thing!

    I guess you are not looking at the right discussion of that!

    http://richarddawkins.net/news

    http://richarddawkins.net/news

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