This video is about the “Hobbit of Flores”.
From Scientific American:
Mar 17, 2010 06:28 PM
By Katherine Harmon
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.
Neanderthal Children Were Large, Sturdy: 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.