Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Homo floresiensis update II

See also my earlier pieces: "The floresiensis mess" and "Homo floresiensis update".

Yet more about whether the Flores specimens discovered in 2004 constitute a new species, this time on the positive side. In an upcoming article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, paleoanthropologists Adam Gordon, Lisa Nevell, and Bernard Wood of George Washington University argue a statistical analysis of one of the skulls (LB1) reveals the Flores specimens cannot be shrunken Homo sapiens. Intriguingly, they say the skull most closely resembles Homo habilis, a very primitive hominid indeed. Says Gordon: "This is particularly exciting because ... it suggests that we really do have a hominin lineage that split off from our own as much as 1.7 million years ago, yet persisted up until the time when modern humans started peopling the Americas. That's pretty cool."

When the study goes online, I'll update this entry with a link to it.

Update: the article can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, score one for the Flores find! After all of the press about the Palau find diminishing the uniqueness of the Flores find this is good news. As for the Palau skeletons, as Dr. Junger from SUNY Stony Brook said, this is “is really much ado about nothing.”
    I guess the fact that none of the bones found match the hobbits really doesn’t matter. After all, the frontal cranium looks almost as high as a human’s but hey Dr. Berger says they are the same species as the hobbit. Damn, can’t we complete a dig before we report the findings nowadays?

    Of course, I have a vested interest in this discovery, having written a speculative fiction novel called Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot on the recent fossil find. If you are interested, there is more on this ongoing controversy about Homo floresiensis at www.floresgirl.com or catch the free Flores Girl podcast at Podiobooks.com.

    Erik John Bertel