New Study on Homo floresiensis

PhysOrg.com mentions that there is a new study out on Homo floresiensis. The new study takes an interesting approach:

Using 3D modeling methods, McNulty and his fellow researchers compared the cranial features of this real-life “hobbit” to those of a simulated fossil human (of similar stature) to determine whether or not such a species was distinct from modern humans.


The results of the study favor a size reduction in Homo floresiensis after it diverged from Homo erectus:

The cranial structure of the fossilized skull, says the study, clearly places it in humanity’s genus Homo, even though it would be smaller in both body and brain size than any other member. The results of the study suggest that the theorized “hobbit” species may have undergone a process of size reduction after branching off from Homo erectus (one of modern day humanity’s distant ancestors) or even something more primitive.
“We have shown with this study that the process of size reduction applied to fossil hominins accounts for many features seen in the fossil skull from Flores,” McNulty said. “It becomes much more difficult, therefore, to defend the hypothesis that the preserved skull is a modern human who simply suffered from an extremely rare disorder.

More details as I acquire them…

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5 Responses

  1. “The results of the study suggest that the theorized ‘hobbit’ species may have undergone a process of size reduction after branching off from Homo erectus”.
    I’ve always thought that was the most likely explanation ever since the Hobbits first made the headlines.

  2. Of related interest:
    Gallagher A 2008 Size Variation in Small-Bodied Humans from Palau, Micronesia. PLoS ONE 3(12): e3939 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003939

    Specimens from Palau have little bearing upon hypothesised insular size reduction in the ancestral lineage of Homo floresiensis.

    Or maybe not.

  3. Yeah, I saw that last night. It has a flaw…

  4. Does that terminal ellipsis mean we can expect a detailed post soon?

  5. Yes.

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