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Author Topic:   Homo floresiensis
RAZD
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Posts: 20226
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 1 of 213 (153450)
10-27-2004 5:11 PM


Tiny new species of human unearthed (click)


The remains of a tiny and hitherto unknown species of human that lived as recently as 13,000 years ago have been discovered on an Indonesian island.

The discovery has been heralded as the most important palaeoanthropological find for 50 years, and has radically altered the accepted picture of human evolution.

The skull and bones of one adult female, and fragments from up to six other specimens, were found in the Liang Bua limestone caves on Flores Island, which lies at the eastern tip of Java.

The female skeleton, known as LB1 - or by the nickname "Ebu" - has been assigned to a new species within the genus Homo - Homo floresiensis. Examination of the remains shows members of the species stood just 1 metre tall and had a brain no bigger than a grapefruit.

A handful of stone tools from the same period were also found in the caves, along with the bones and teeth of several dwarf stegodons, an ancestor of the modern elephant. Other animal remains, including rats, bats and fish, show signs that they were cooked around the time H. floresiensis inhabited in the caves.

Homo sapiens are thought to have colonised Flores island between 55,000 and 35,000 years ago, meaning they must have lived alongside H. floresiensis for tens of thousands of years.

What caused the demise of H. floresiensis is unknown. It is possible that they were out-competed for food and other resources by H. sapiens or that they were wiped out by a volcanic eruption about 12,000 years ago.

Some reports are calling this "hobbit (wo)man" and there are skeptics that don't think it is a new species.

One thing to consider is that it is normal for a species isolated on an island to trend to {pygmy versions \ smaller sizes} (pygmy mammoths on California�s Channel Islands for instance), so this may just be a case of evolution to a smaller species from Homo sapiens.

Enjoy

This message has been edited by RAZD, 01-03-2005 19:58 AM

Edited by RAZD, : updated email option and sig

Edited by RAZD, : dbcoding symbol conversions


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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 213 (153487)
10-27-2004 7:57 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
NosyNed
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Posts: 8866
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 7.5


Message 3 of 213 (153494)
10-27-2004 8:10 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
10-27-2004 5:11 PM


Prediction game
Shall we play a little game of prediction? How will the creationists misintrepret this find?

There is already some misunderstanding in the actual news article: "and has radically altered the accepted picture of human evolution."

Which I don't see given that we have understood the bushyness of our family tree for some time now. The only wonderful surprise is that the a branch of the bush almost made it to modern times.

It is a great shame that they didn't. (Well, given our treatment of actual H. sapiens, maybe not).


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pink sasquatch
Member (Idle past 4334 days)
Posts: 1567
Joined: 06-10-2004


Message 4 of 213 (153500)
10-27-2004 8:21 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by NosyNed
10-27-2004 8:10 PM


Re: Prediction game
How will the creationists misintrepret this find?

There is already some misunderstanding in the actual news article: "and has radically altered the accepted picture of human evolution."

I was actually hoping we could use it in the opposite way, as a demonstration to creationists arguing the misconception that scientists never go against existing evidence. From the Brown, et al., abstract in Nature:

Importantly, H. floresiensis shows that the genus Homo is
morphologically more varied and flexible in its adaptive responses than previously thought.

A clear statement of potential revision of a hypothesis.


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MangyTiger
Member (Idle past 4665 days)
Posts: 989
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 07-30-2004


Message 5 of 213 (153511)
10-27-2004 8:51 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
10-27-2004 5:11 PM


New species testing via DNA ?
and there are skeptics that don’t think it is a new species

Aren't these bones recent enough to make it possible to extract DNA - in which case I would have thought the "is it a different species" argument will be definitively settled sometime in the not too distant future. After all it worked with the Neanderthals didn't it ?

Actually this got me to wondering - just how different would the DNA have to be to categorically say it's a new species ? Any of our DNA experts out there care to share their views ?

Come to that, has anybody actually looked at the DNA of modern pygmies ?

So many questions, so small a brain...


Confused ? You will be...

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Kapyong
Member (Idle past 1753 days)
Posts: 344
Joined: 05-22-2003


Message 6 of 213 (153532)
10-27-2004 9:43 PM


Still extant ?
Greetings all,

The discovery of this very recent "little person" fossil reminds me of a
very odd conversation I had some time ago with an aborigine here in Perth.

I used to know a certain Ian Beafort-Dinah, whose line are the leaders of
the local Noongah community here (his grandfather was Noongah chief, his
father was part of the "stolen generation", Ian had not been initiated as
leader.)

He told me of an occasion when his father took him to see something rather
unusual : he took him to a remote location, they waited quietly - eventually
they saw what he described as little "people" with no clothes, somewhat
hairy, who used simple tools and avoided contact with us large people.

I quizzed him hard - he was certain he actually physically saw them, he was
certain they existed, he was certain it was not a dream experience or
anything like that.

Naturally, I was rather sceptical :-)

But,
on the other hand - Australia is a BIG place with a lot of empty space -
perhaps it is remotely possible that these creatures still exist?

Iasion


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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5407
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 7 of 213 (153533)
10-27-2004 9:46 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
10-27-2004 5:11 PM


Nature, which published the research papers on this find, has a free(!) writeup:
http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041025/full/4311029a.html

Read Henry Gee's column while you're there. Neat stuff.

The bones were not fossilized, but were soggy and fragile. I'll read the papers themselves this evening, and see if they indicate anything about the chances of DNA recovery. In the tropics, I'd guess it's not likely.

This message has been edited by Coragyps, 10-27-2004 08:47 PM


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jar
Member
Posts: 31604
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 8 of 213 (153534)
10-27-2004 9:52 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Coragyps
10-27-2004 9:46 PM


From the Nature article.

In the meantime, researchers are hoping to find DNA in the bones, which would help to clarify the relationships between species. DNA has previously been extracted from European Neanderthals living in the same time period. But they have so far failed to find DNA in the teeth of the Stegodon found in the same cave, says Brown.

It looks like there is at least the possibility of finding DNA.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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roxrkool
Member (Idle past 1208 days)
Posts: 1493
From: Nevada
Joined: 03-23-2003


Message 9 of 213 (153550)
10-27-2004 11:49 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Kapyong
10-27-2004 9:43 PM


Re: Still extant ?
What a great story - even gave me goosebumps. Wouldn't a discovery like that be fantastic?!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Kapyong, posted 10-27-2004 9:43 PM Kapyong has responded

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Kapyong
Member (Idle past 1753 days)
Posts: 344
Joined: 05-22-2003


Message 10 of 213 (153555)
10-28-2004 1:08 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by roxrkool
10-27-2004 11:49 PM


Re: Still extant ?
Greetings rox,

Indeed, if the "hobbits" turn up still alive it will be the most fantastic event in history

Of course, it's hardly likely they will - but 13,000 years is so recent it made me think of Ian's odd story.

Anyway
they are in the Bible, so it must be True -

Jeremiah 49:15 describes them -
"For behold, I have made you SMALL among the nations,
Despised among men. "

and goes on to give clear scientific proof about their environment -
"O you who live in the clefts of the rock,
Who occupy the height of the hill."

We can also see clear evidence that the hobbits descended from Jacob who was just learning to walk upright -
Amos 7:5 "Lord GOD, please pardon! How can Jacob stand, For he is small?"

Iasion


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The Dread Dormammu
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 213 (153582)
10-28-2004 4:19 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Kapyong
10-28-2004 1:08 AM


Psycic Movies
I think it's weird how after "Jurrasic Park" we discovered the Utah raptor and just before the relese of "Lord of the Rings: the return of the king" special edition we discover Homo floresiensis.

Just doing my part in filling our quota for hobbit jokes.


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Parasomnium
Member (Idle past 1007 days)
Posts: 2191
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 12 of 213 (153584)
10-28-2004 4:24 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by NosyNed
10-27-2004 8:10 PM


Re: Prediction game
One soundbite I heard this morning in the news ran: "Skeleton find turns theory of evolution on its head." How's that for a misinterpretation of the otherwise very interesting scientific ramifications of this discovery?


"It's amazing what you can learn from DNA." - Desdamona.

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Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 213 (153586)
10-28-2004 4:54 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Kapyong
10-27-2004 9:43 PM


Re: Still extant ?
A loacl paper in Oz said that on Flores there were legends about the little people. They apparently used to leave out food for them at night.

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Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 213 (153587)
10-28-2004 5:04 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Kapyong
10-28-2004 1:08 AM


Re: Still extant ?
Iasion wrote:


they are in the Bible, so it must be True -

Jeremiah 49:15 describes them -
"For behold, I have made you SMALL among the nations,
Despised among men. "

and goes on to give clear scientific proof about their environment -
"O you who live in the clefts of the rock,
Who occupy the height of the hill."


You're not serious are you? That verse of Jeremiah is talking about the city of Bozrah.

You not trying to find stuff in the Old Testament with the same level of scholarly diligence as the Gospel writers, are you?

Can anyone provide any convincing biblical references to any sort of hominid?


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 416 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 15 of 213 (153588)
10-28-2004 5:24 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
10-27-2004 5:11 PM


One thing to consider is that it is normal for a species isolated on an island to trend to {pygmy versions \ smaller sizes} (pygmy mammoths on California’s Channel Islands for instance), so this may just be a case of evolution to a smaller species from Homo sapiens.

There are pygmy humans living in various parts of the world today - I would hope that the scientists in question had already compared the skulls of this 'new' species to them?


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