Pre-hobbit human ancestors of Flores


This video is about the “Hobbit of Flores”.

From Scientific American:

Mar 17, 2010 06:28 PM

Hominins lived on Flores for nearly one million years before hobbit

By Katherine Harmon

Predecessors of the controversial “hobbit” (Homo floresiensis) discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores might have had a longer history there than researchers previously thought.

Although early hominins were presumed to be living on Flores about 800,000 years ago—as evidenced by the discovery of stone tools dated to that time—new finds and analysis push their arrival back another 200,000 years, according to a study in the March 18 issue of Nature (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group). If hominins were present on the island for one million years, as the new findings suggest, that would extend the window of time in which a small primitive human, such as H. floresiensis, which lived about 18,000 years ago, could have evolved.

The group, led by Adam Brumm of the Centre for Archaeological Science at the University of Wollongong in Australia, found some 45 stone artifacts, which the team was able to describe and date. The tools were likely made by early ancient hominin ancestors on the island; it remains unknown if the users of these tools were directly related to H. floresiensis.

Scientists had proposed that the arrival of hominins on Flores precipitated the vanishing of giant tortoise (Geochelone) and pygmy elephant species (Stegodon sondaari) from the area about 800,000 years ago. But an earlier arrival of these individuals now raises doubts about such a direct causation. “It now seems that this extirpation or possible extinction event…were the result of natural processes rather than the arrival of hominins,” noted the researchers, who proposed that climate change, volcanoes or other force might have killed off these animals.

Tracing stone tool clues to discover the earliest date of hominins’ arrival on the island, however, might prove to be difficult, the researchers noted. The sediment at the popular Soa Basin site, which has long been exploited for ancient evidence, appears be too recently deposited to yield artifacts much older than those described in the study. Therefore, concluded the researchers, new clues should “be sought in other parts of the island.”

The Late Pleistocene Flores fauna shows a pattern observed on many other islands. It is neither aberrant nor exclusive, but the result of non-random selective forces acting upon an impoverished and disharmonic insular fauna. By comparing the Flores vertebrate fauna with other fossil insular biotas, it is apparent that the evolution of Homo floresiensis is part of a general pattern affecting all the inhabitants of Pleistocene Flores. Vertebrate evolution on Flores appears to have been characterized by phylogenetic continuity, low species richness and a disharmonic fauna. All three aspects stem from the isolated position of the island and have resulted in the distinct morphological characteristics of the Flores fauna. Evidence reviewed herein shows that features exhibited by H. floresiensis, such as small stature, a small brain, relatively long arms, robust lower limbs and long feet, are not unique, but are shared by other insular taxa. Therefore, the evolution of H. floresiensis can be explained by existing models of insular evolution and followed evolutionary pathways similar to those of the other terrestrial vertebrates inhabiting Pleistocene Flores: here.

‘Hobbit’ was an iodine-deficient human, not another species, new study suggests: here.

Siberia: “X-woman”, as the creature has been named, last shared an ancestor with humans and Neanderthals about 1 million years ago but is probably different from both species. She lived 30,000 to 50,000 years ago: here.

A metal pin adorning a military uniform signifies rank; a ring on the left hand’s fourth finger announces matrimony. Most scientists thought that the capability for such symbolic thinking was unique to modern humans, but a new study suggests that it dates back to before the Neandertals: here.

Welcome to the family, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis: here.

Neanderthal Children Were Large, Sturdy: here.

Cozy Neanderthal sleeping chamber in cave contained hearth and grass beds that may have been covered with animal fur: here.

Archaeologists have found a foot bone that could prove the Philippines was first settled by humans 67,000 years ago, thousands of years earlier than previously thought, the National Museum said Tuesday: here.

Ancient New Guinea settlers headed for the hills: First human arrivals rapidly adapted to mile-high forests 50,000 years ago: here.

The early human colonisation of islands might not have been plain sailing. Instead of using boats to deliberately settle on Indonesian islands, hominins may have arrived as castaways, carried on floating debris after floods: here.

Interactive Timeline of Human Evolution: here.

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11 thoughts on “Pre-hobbit human ancestors of Flores

  1. Neanderthals feasted on lions

    Washington, June 15 : Looks like our ancestors could boast of the proverbial nerves of steel – Neanderthal cavemen hunted and feasted on lions, according to a new Spanish research.

    The study appears in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

    A team led by Ruth Blasco of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain, found lion bones at the Gran Dolina site in Sierra de Atapuerca.

    The cave contains hundreds of animal bones, largely red deer and horses, but also a few carnivores in rock layers dating to 250,000 to 350,000 years ago.

    One set of lion bones stands out among the other carnivores like foxes and bears.

    “The relatively high occurrence of cutmarks on lion bones (11.76 percent) indicates an association between hominids (humans) and this predator,” says the study, adding, “cutmarks related to the skinning and defleshing are identified and the human use of bone marrow is documented by diagnostic elements of anthropogenic (man-made) breakage. All these evidences suggest that the lion was used for food,” reports USA Today.

    The study also suggests cave diners hunted the lion, Panthera leo fossilis, a cave lion about seven feet long, considerably bigger than today”s African lions.

    “The fact that no pathologies have been documented on the P. leo fossilis remains, which indicate possible diseases or injuries of a traumatic nature that make this predator vulnerable,” suggests that they hunted the big cat.

    Even though early humans didn”t hunt lions often, they likely resided higher than the cats on the food chain, the team says, concluding, “the hunting of this predator suggests that the hominids of the Middle Pleistocene are successful hunters able to face the large predators.”

    –ANI

  2. Film-maker threatens to use lower-paid hobbits

    “The actors’ union [Equity] has advised members not to accept work on Sir Peter Jackson’s two-part adaptation of the JRR Tolkien novel [The Hobbit] as the filmmakers have refused to enter into a union-negotiated agreement.

    “Sir Peter has blasted the union for damaging the New Zealand film industry, warning that studio backers Warner Bros were considering taking the movie offshore, possibly to Eastern Europe.”

    — October 12 TVNZ.co.nz article.

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