Blog 6- Homo Floresiensis

Since the discovery of homo floresiensis anthropologist have had to rethink and explain the evolution of humanity. With the discovery of homo floresiensis many were left wondering how this small and new form of homo could have existed. Fossils were found on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2004. When the fossilized remains were pieced together it showed that the fossils belonged to a short primitive adult hominin. It stood about three feet tall and had the brain size of an orange. Yet despite this small stature homo floresiensis used stone tools.

                What Anthropologists are learning from these fossils are that these primitive people might have been directly related to the ape-men that evolved on the African savannah three million years ago. If this was true, what anthropologists are trying to figure out is how these primitive hominids travelled half a world from the probable birthplace in the Rift Valley to their new home which became the island of Flores. How could these small and primitive people have come to such a far and remote place like Flores Island and survived there? This question is puzzling anthropologists at the moment. Some were quick to dismiss these fossil remains as nothing more than deformed modern humans with diseases that had caused them to shrink just pathological oddities. However most researchers disagreed with this claim. Instead it was believed that homo floresiensis was the descendant of a race far larger ancient humans who had thrived around a million years ago. These descendants were thought to be Homo erectus, who became stranded on the island and then shrunk in an evolutionary response to the island’s limited resources. While this seems more of a reasonable explanation than a simple deformity. There has been new evidence suggesting otherwise. What is believed is that homo floresiensis might be directly related to the early ape-men that were in Africa improbable at first but the physical similarities between the two species is striking. The best used example is Lucy. She is 3.2 million years old and is a member of Australopithecus afarensis. She too had a small brain, primitive wrists, feet and teeth and was only about three feet tall as well. There has been crucial analysis conducted on Lucy’s skeleton and it has shown that there is great similarities with the bones of homo floresiensis. However her species died out millions of years ago while homo floresiensis hung on in Flores until about 17,000 years ago.

                In my opinion the biggest contribution these findings have made is that it further shows how complex and far human evolution has come. It gives way to the notion that we as modern humans are the perfect and pentacle of the species. If anything this should humble us and remind us how lucky we have been to have been the species to have survived. I am positive there are many more species that have not yet been discovered that would challenge our understanding of the human evolution. When these are discovered we will have to change our understanding.

One thought on “Blog 6- Homo Floresiensis

  1. I agree that the discovery of Homo floresiensis has forced anthropologists to look closer at the historical evolution of mankind. With this species living isolated on the island of Flores, it was the result of evolutionary dwarfism that led them to be so short in stature. Along with small bodies, Homo floresiensis has small brains as well as you mentioned. But despite this, they were still capable of stone tool usage. This fact has led anthropologists to rethink how brain size and tool use are correlated. I like how you mentioned the puzzling question of how this species came to live on an island since they came from Africa. It seems dismissive to think that the fossils of Homo floresiensis were just disfigured humans. It makes more sense that this species would be direct descendants of Homo erectus who also lived on the island, but the most logical reasoning seems to be the connection to early ape-men, like Lucy. With so many similarities such as small brain and primitive physical features, it is reasonable to assume that Homo floresiensis and the early ape-men were ancestors. I agree that the studies of human evolution will be ever changing as anthropologists discover new fossils and new species. Great job!

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