Blog 6- Homo Floresiensis

The species Homo Floresiensis is an incredibly interesting archaeological discovery. From their home on the small island Flores in Indonesia, they were able to thrive for over fifty-thousand years- which, despite the fact that scientists originally believed it to be longer, is a huge amount of time. Part of the reason they were able to thrive on such a small island is because they were naturally selected into “evolutionary dwarfism” which caused them to be very small (roughly three feet). This process was successful because their relatively small size allowed them to use a significantly reduced number of necessary resources that are crucial for survival.

The thing I found most interesting when reading about this species was that their brains were actually smaller than those of their predecessors. Similar to the reason why they were so short,  natural selection did not choose traits that made them smarter, but instead ones that made them live longer in the end. This could then lead to one to the notion that we may very well eventually reach a point at which natural selection determines we are no longer thriving on becoming smarter, and therefore reverse the process we are currently studying (though maybe not to that extreme). For example: since we have evolved into beings with a larger cerebrum and have created the modern world, we have killed entire species of plants and animals off into extinction, destroyed the natural landscape of our planet, and polluted our air and our water- both of which are supposed to be overly abundant. This is all for the sake of our lives being more “convenient”. Once the negative effects that all of these actions set into motion come to life and people start dying, is it possible that we will begin to regress to where we didn’t make such a mess out of our home?

Another aspect that I found interesting was that Homo Floresiensis had such a similar appearance to Lucy as the article “How a Hobbit is Rewriting the History of the Human Race” points out. Even though Lucy was an Australopithecus Afarensis, had died millions of years ago, and was from Ethiopia, she still was strikingly similar to this species that developed on an island in Indonesia. Homo Floresiensis was also very similar to the Denisovians. While each of these groups may or may not be direct ancestors to our species, it still can explain a lot about how and why our population is so very diverse. If there were multiple different species during the pleistocene period that all contributed to the process that created the modern day human, then much of the variation we see between each other today can be attributed to these different strands of species.

In any case, we can be most assured that the discovery of this strange and small (literally and figuratively) population can be used in a variety of different ways: both to learn new and important information about where we come from, and to predict crucial information about where we will be in the future.

5 thoughts on “Blog 6- Homo Floresiensis

  1. Ortsumme, that is a very interesting point. I think that is a possibility, that our descendants could be less intelligent than us but better adapted to the world that follows. However, I think that it’s more likely that our species will make the earth uninhabitable for any species even vaguely resembling us. Nuclear warfare could wipe out most life that is on our planet right now. I think that the only things we can be sure of surviving in the future are very simple species, like bacteria. They can handle incredibly extreme conditions, and some of them would survive underground in various places after a nuclear war. However, between nuclear war and a more mundane environmental catastrophe, I hope that we avoid both. I think that, with our advanced brains, we can probably find solutions to our problems and survive. When the going gets tough, people will be less concerned about convenience and more about not dying. I think we are already heading towards a more responsible future with all the people concerned about the environment.

  2. Hey Ortsumme,
    I’ve just finished reading your blog about Homo floresiensis and found it very thoughtful. I also did this week’s blog on this species, but did not think of the same responses to the prompt, which shows just how diverse a topic they really are. I appreciated the fact that you branched into the environmental issues that our species has caused, particularly with regards to the loss of this species. It was interesting to learn that many researchers believe Homo sapiens to be at fault for the loss of Homo floresiensis, particularly when this species was on an island. I wonder what drew Homo sapiens to the island to use up all of the resources when their resources were so abundant on the mainland and their draw would cause the disappearance of an entire species.
    I also found it interesting that you mentioned Homo floresiensis’ striking similarity to Lucy. That particular piece of information caused me to rethink the way that I perceived the lineage of hominins, and really the way in which each species is related. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Thanks for your post,
    Julia

  3. I can see your interests in Homo floresiensis. Examining new and mysterious fossils and comparing them to modern humans, especially when they are very rare pieces can be very exciting. Scientists have more fossils involving Neanderthel than they do Homo floresiensis, for a better understanding of where the later fits into the evoluntionary timeline of modern humans, more of these fossils need to found and analyzed. If its true, Homo floresiensis was an isolated human species on one island, does that mean, regionally we may find lots of genetic variability among modern humans and their past ancestors. Homo floresiensis may lead scientists to believe, that isolated habitats around the world may generate many different fossil types. Which may change the way scientists view the way humans have evoloved, and each part of the worl, will offer diversity among each human species.

  4. Hello,
    I found your post to be quite interesting and I enjoyed reading it. It think it is amazing that the species, Homo Floresiensis had small brains, yet they were able to hunt and make stone tools – which was not common is species existing before them. It is interesting that Homo Floresiensis is similar to the species, Australopithecus afarensis, because humans are also similar to A. afarensis. Maybe there was a point in the evolutionary chain that Homo Floresiensis and Homo sapiens (predecessors) crossed paths Studying this species can help to give insight about our own race because it almost shows the opposite of human’s evolutionary chain. Homo Floresiensis became isolated on an island and that dictated the evolution of that certain species. Homo sapiens path is also interesting as it crossed path with different species – i.e. the Neanderthals. Good post!

  5. I found Homo Floresiensis to be an extremely interesting archaeological discovery when it was discussed during our lectures recently. I also wrote about H. Floresiensis for my blog post this week and I really liked how you compared these “Hobbits” to Lucy and others, such as the Denisovians. I did not make note of how the species was similar to other ones that came before, or during a similar time. I agree that it can help to explain how and why our population is so diverse. In my post I also wrote about the smaller brain size of the H. Floresiensis, but one thing you did not mention in your post that I found interesting, was that despite their small brains they managed to use tools. Overall, they are an incredibly interesting species.

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