Homo floresiensis Distinct Human Species, Says New Research

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A study led by Dr Katerina Harvati from Tübingen University, Germany, suggests the small-brained Indonesian hominin was a distinct species of human, rather than Homo sapiens suffering from a developmental disorder.


A joint Australian-Indonesian team of archaeologists unearthed partial skeletons of nine small-bodied hominins on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003. Among the specimens found were an 18,000-year-old almost complete skull (labeled LB1) and a partial skeleton, consisting of leg bones, parts of the pelvis, hands and feet, and some other fragments. The fossils have been attributed to a new human species, Homo floresiensis.

LB1 was an adult of about 30, probably female. She was only about 3.3 feet (1 m) in height with a very small brain size of 417 cc.

Since the discovery, researchers have clashed over whether LB1 really does represent a species of its own, a descendant of Homo erectus or a pathological form of Homo sapiens.

“The origin of hominins found on the remote Indonesian island of Flores remains highly contentious,” Dr Harvati and her colleagues wrote in a paper reporting the findings in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

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

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  1. It looks as if it is a distinct species; and having been discovered on a “remote” island only adds to that hypothesis being correct, because the likelihood of speciation having occurred is increased; only a kind of mutational set back took place, and was compounded by the isolation leading to the gene pool becoming smaller rather of larger.

    But what do I know?

    I’ll probably get my head bitten off now, but I’m prepared to run that risk if it means that I can learn from it.

    • In reply to #1 by Stafford Gordon:

      It looks as if it is a distinct species; and having been discovered on a “remote” island only adds to that hypothesis being correct, because the likelihood of speciation having occurred is increased; only a kind of mutational set back took place, and was compounded by the isolation leading to the g…

      I hate to be the one to point this out, but according to your photo, your head has already been bitten off. (Kiddin’) I saw a documentary on these guys a while back. But another species of human might make some of us feel less important.

    • In reply to #1 by Stafford Gordon:

      It looks as if it is a distinct species; and having been discovered on a “remote” island only adds to that hypothesis being correct, because the likelihood of speciation having occurred is increased; only a kind of mutational set back took place, and was compounded by the isolation leading to the g…

      I think there maybe some misunderstanding indicated by your use of the term “mutational set back”. Seems to hint at evolution having an end goal in sight.

      • In reply to #12 by Martin_C:

        In reply to #1 by Stafford Gordon:

        It looks as if it is a distinct species; and having been discovered on a “remote” island only adds to that hypothesis being correct, because the likelihood of speciation having occurred is increased; only a kind of mutational set back took place, and was compound…

        A question rather than a reply, Martin. Years ago, somewhere or other, I read that increasing complexity in the neural system, is something like a constant in evolution, with each new species having a more highly developed brain and neural network. I’ve never seen this anywhere since, and I wonder if there’s any truth in it?

    • In reply to #3 by Roedy:

      How many fossils have been found. What is the age of the most recent?

      The article says 18,000 years. The documentary I watched a while back suggested they were originally from Polynesia. The show suggested that there were bones from several different people. They were in what was assumed to be a burial cave. I don’t remember the name of the doc.

  2. Now, I wonder how far this speciation has progressed. It can’t be enough to prevent fertile offspring with modern humans I wouldn’t think. I am assuming also that these little guys have Neanderthal DNA in them as well as me and all other non-Africans. I can’t wait to see the first reincarnated Neanderthals and Floresiensis (that’s not a spelling error, stupid computer) now that I have managed to overcome my moral and ethical perplexity…wouldn’t YOU love to teach a ‘multispecies’ class of children about biology and human evolution – an amazing dream! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No_Id8H4dv8

  3. And what about genetics? What about that thing we know of now? What about a true multispecies class of children? When we can breed or perhaps genetically engineer a dog and an octopus, a dolphin and a gorilla or ‘superchimp’s’ so smart they have the capacity to read the English language. I for one, feel we need to know what their opinions of us and themselves are, don’t you? Might sound like science fiction but so was Jules Vern’s moon shenanigans.

  4. In reply to The Fonz: “I am assuming also that these little guys have Neanderthal DNA in them as well as me and all other non-Africans”

    Many scientists believe that the Neanderthal DNA present in modern humans is the result of interbreeding during the first hom.sap migration from Africa around 70,000 years ago and this DNA, found it’s way down to us via the offspring of the 1st hom.sap. migration interbreeding with a subsequent migration maybe 50,000 years ago. All of this fun centred in the near east. It is thought that the migration to south east Asia was via the coastal route with the earliest (darkest) peoples probably the forebears of the modern melanesians (though it’s more complex than that). Australian aborigines are thought to have reached Australia (and other points north at around 50,000 years ago, meaning that we cannot be sure whether they were of the 1st or 2nd (or both) wave out of Africa, or how much if any Neanderthal DNA they absorbed en route. Hom. Floriensis if derived from asiatic hom. erectus would be expected to have no neanderthal DNA, but if they were descended from hom. sap they might or might not have it depending on chance meetings with neanderthals (of hom.saps with inherited neanderthal DNA) in the early part of their passage, which quite likely was along the coast of the Arabian peninsula where no neandethal specimens have yet been uncovered. But as they say, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Human origins is a fascinating subject that is becoming much more complex as each tiny discovery has to be “bigged-up” because of the rather ludicrous funding regimes dominating academia. Each fragment of evidence can obscure as much as enlighten the mystery. A few more decades of further evidence and painstaking analysis will hopefully define all this “Adam & Eve-ing”.

  5. I really wish that ridiculous face reconstruction image would go away forever. There is NO WAY to tell anything about how big the lips and nose were, how narrow or wide the eye slits were, how much or what colour hair they had or skin colour. All that should be shown is the rough shape of the face, that’s it!

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