Jawbone of New Human Species Discovered?

[quote]Scientists say they have found more bones in an Indonesian cave that offer additional evidence of a second human species _ short and hobbit-like _ that roamed the Earth the same time as modern man.

Fully grown, Homo floresiensis would have stood about 3 feet tall, with a brain about the size of a chimpanzee.

Its discoverers, led by Australian anthropologist Michael Morwood of the University of New England, speculate it evolved from Homo erectus, which had spread from Africa across Asia. They attribute its small size to its isolation on an island.

However, the researchers acknowledge that the Hobbit shares a bizarre and unexplained mixture of modern and primitive traits. For example, its long, dangling arms were thought to have belonged only to much older prehuman species that were confined to Africa.[/quote]

Here’s a link to an article from last year’s National Geographic

Here’s the article from the more recent Washington Post that the quotes were taken from

I knew this had to be posted before but couldn’t find it in my initial search: [forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.ph … sis#252719](Pre-aboriginal Taiwanese midgets

Apparently, Gollum didn’t get completely incinerated when he fell into that volcano.

[quote]with a brain about the size of a chimpanzee.
[/quote]

That is one big brain for a three foot human.

This is a very interesting development. However, I’m rather skeptical about the claims that these bones represent a separate species. First, tools found in the same cave (although in another section) are of h. erectus type. Second, one can have a physically small population develop in an isolated place like an island through more than one mechanism without it representing a separate species. Genetic disease such as microcephaly and other syndromes causing dwarfism, as well as a rather common, resource-driven shift to smaller size (island dwarfism) are more parsimonious explanations. The latter hypothesis could be supported by further fossil finds in the future:

[quote]In Dr. Martin’s view, in which he is joined by several prominent scientists, the more likely explanation for the small stature is, in part, a common phenomenon known as island dwarfing. People and animals living in isolation for many generations tend to evolve smaller bodies, a natural adaptation to limited resources.

Dr. Lieberman, who wrote the commentary in Nature, said the dwarfing issue could be resolved if fossils of much earlier specimens of the Flores people were discovered.

“If the island-dwarfing hypothesis is correct,” he wrote, “then the island’s earliest inhabitants should be larger than the Liang Bua fossils.”[/quote]
(from http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/12/international/asia/12island.html)

In fact, the elephants on that island also exhibited island dwarfism, and stood only one meter tall. I want one! But seriously, the same thing happened to elephants on Sicily and Malta, which were still living around 2000 years ago. There were tiny hippos on Madagascar, and tiny mammoths on California’s Channel islands. Island mammals often exhibit dwarfism, while small animals (very small mammals, and birds and reptiles) may show the opposite trend.

Why opposite trends at the same time? Large mammals have a constrained food supply, so smaller individuals, who consume less food, are favored. Small prey animals, if there are none of their natural predators on an island and abundant food, may tend to get larger over generations, as size means better defense and mating prospects. Or so the theory goes.

Dr. Lieberman and Dr. Martin’s quotes are also on page 2 of the Washington Post article.

I can’t read all of the NY times article. Is there a way to read it without registering?

Who’s your buddy?

[quote]A Big Debate on Little People: Ancient Species or Modern Dwarfs?
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Published: October 12, 2005

New discoveries in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, notably another jawbone, appear to give additional support to the idea that a separate species of little people new to science and now extinct lived there as recently as 12,000 years ago.
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Map Flores, Indonesia
Flores, Indonesia

But a vigorous minority of skeptical scientists were unmoved by the new findings. They contend that the skeletal remains are more likely to be deformed modern human beings, not a distinct species.

The group of Australian and Indonesian researchers who announced the first findings a year ago and proclaimed the new species Homo floresiensis describe the additional bones in a report to be published tomorrow in the journal Nature.

They said the bones were fragments of nine individuals of unusually small stature, little more than three feet tall, and, judging by one skull, with brains the size of a chimpanzee’s. The newly discovered lower jaw was almost identical to one previously found, except that it appeared to be 3,000 years younger.

“We can now reconstruct the body proportions of H. floresiensis with some certainty,” the scientists, led by Michael J. Morwood and Peter Brown, both of the University of New England in Australia, said in the report.

“The finds further demonstrate,” they continued, that the original skull and partial skeleton was not from “an aberrant or pathological individual, but is representative of a long-term population” that was present during the period from 95,000 to 12,000 years ago.

The implication that made the original discovery a year ago such a sensation was that these “little people of Flores,” as they are commonly called, represent a distinct species that shared the earth with modern humans far more recently than anyone had supposed.

In a commentary in the journal, Daniel E. Lieberman, a biological anthropologist at Harvard University, said, “All in all, it seems reasonable for Morwood and colleagues to stick to their original hypothesis that H. floresiensis is a new species.”

But Dr. Lieberman noted that the authors were less certain of the new species’ lineage than they had been a year ago. Then the discovery team speculated that the little people had evolved from Homo erectus, the immediate predecessor of Homo sapiens. Now they suggest in the report that the species may descend more directly from earlier members of the human family, like the australopithecines, the group the famous 3.2-million-year-old Lucy belonged to.

In an exchange of e-mail messages from Australia, Dr. Brown said, “The limb proportions, stature, brain size and skeletal robusticity of H. floresiensis replicated those in Australopithecus afarensis, not in any member of our genus Homo.”

Dr. Brown said he was preparing to publish results of research that could explain what, if any, connection the little people had to Lucy.

But some paleontologists and biologists express strong doubts that the little people represent a new species. Two separate groups, including Indonesians, Australians, Americans and Britons, said this week that they were about to submit reports to a journal that they say refute the new-species hypothesis.

“I don’t think anything is changed with this paper,” Robert D. Martin, a biological anthropologist and provost at the Field Museum in Chicago, said in a telephone interview, referring to the latest Nature report. “I feel very strongly that these people are glossing over the problems with this interpretation.”

In Dr. Martin’s view, in which he is joined by several prominent scientists, the more likely explanation for the small stature is, in part, a phenomenon known as island dwarfing. People and animals living in isolation for many generations tend to evolve smaller bodies, their growth constrained by limited resources.

Dr. Lieberman, who wrote the commentary in Nature, said the dwarfing issue could be resolved if fossils of much earlier specimens of the Flores people were discovered.

“If the island-dwarfing hypothesis is correct,” he wrote, “then the island’s earliest inhabitants should be larger than the Liang Bua fossils.”

Liang Bua is the cave at a remote Flores village where archaeologists found the first bones of the little people two years ago. Besides the skull and jaw, the bones included limbs and other fragments in deposits dating from 18,000 years ago; they were accompanied by remarkably advanced stone tools. The latest finds were from trenches at various depths and thus ages, some as recent as 12,000 years ago, indicating that the cave was occupied for tens of thousands of years.

Another possibility raised by the skeptics is that the discoverers happened to come on a people suffering from microcephaly, a disorder that causes abnormally small brain growth and other deformities.

Recently, British researchers examined the skull of a microcephalic individual at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and found that its braincase appeared to match that of the Flores specimen.

Robert B. Eckhardt, a professor of developmental genetics at Penn State, complained that the new report on the additional jaw failed to support the thesis that these people were a separate species.

“All the paper tells us is that they have identified an early population of small people,” Dr. Eckhardt said. “What we are disputing is that people with the brain size of a chimp made these stone tools in the cave. The easiest explanation is that the specimen with the small brain has a small brain because it is abnormal, not a new species.”[/quote]

Now I’m no expert, but DB you told me you didn’t know that Dragon Bones was the name of the cave where Peking Man was discovered.

What are the chances of finding 9 separate skeletons over 4,000 generations of dwarfs and no evidence of Snow White. I think there case is a very strong one. If they were dwarfs then there would be bones of humans from our species mixed into the finds, but there aren’t. Plus they have anatomical differences such as their teeth.

On dwarfism:

[quote]PROFESSOR BERT ROBERTS: It would seem to be incredibly implausible because we now have 80,000 years of evidence containing hobbits in this cave. Now, that’s 4,000 generations of people. You can’t keep a viable population of deformed people going over 4,000 generations without them accumulating all sorts of defects and eventually dying out. So you’ve got a viable population going from maybe 95,000 years ago right through 12,000 years ago. They’re all very, very similar and all small people and don’t have features in common with modern humans, what is our own species whether they’ve got microcephaly or not.
[/quote]

On the jaw:

And your making this public from a Private Message about my username has exactly what to do with the current thread?

Here’s your so called proof for evolution:

Lucy: Most experts agree that lucy was just a 3 foot chimp.

Nebraska Man: Turned out it was built from one tooth, that came from an extinct pig… So theres grandpa… oink oink

Piltdown man: Someone took an ape skull, and a human jawbone, and filed them to make it fit, then treated it with acid to make it look real.

Peaking man: Someone found some smashed monkey skull in a cave, along with some human tools. So the monkey learned to make tools, and testing it on their heads too. All evidence disappeared after World War II.

Neantherdal: Turned out to be an old human that was suffering from artheritis.

Cro Magnum man: Looks just like a normal human. Take him and dress him up in suit and tie and no one will look twice.

Modern man: This genious thinks we came from a monkey.

[quote=“rahimiiii”]Here’s your so called proof for evolution:

Lucy: Most experts agree that lucy was just a 3 foot chimp.

Nebraska Man: Turned out it was built from one tooth, that came from an extinct pig… So theres grandpa… oink oink

Piltdown man: Someone took an ape skull, and a human jawbone, and filed them to make it fit, then treated it with acid to make it look real.

Peaking man: Someone found some smashed monkey skull in a cave, along with some human tools. So the monkey learned to make tools, and testing it on their heads too. All evidence disappeared after World War II.

Neantherdal: Turned out to be an old human that was suffering from artheritis.

Cro Magnum man: Looks just like a normal human. Take him and dress him up in suit and tie and no one will look twice.

Modern man: This genious thinks we came from a monkey.[/quote]

I tend to agree with you.

I find it odd that people don’t believe in God, but will readily believe that we evolved from monkeys… :loco:

Especially considering there is no real evidence to support evolution, but rather that adaptation is a more acceptable explanation.

But whatever, if believing we come from monkeys makes you happy, good on you. And sure, there are aliens too. They do anal probes and abduct people. :unamused:

[quote]Fox wrote:
Now I’m no expert, but DB you told me you didn’t know that Dragon Bones was the name of the cave where Peking Man was discovered.

And your making this public from a Private Message about my username has exactly what to do with the current thread?[/quote]

I didn’t know you’d be so touchy DB. I’m just wondering about your level of expertise. It goes to credibility. Hey! No Problem. I freely admit to having none. Just presenting the otherside of the argument in an argumentative way. I didn’t know you’d be taking the Private Message high ground.

I doubt any of us are experts here, and I never claimed to be. Can’t we just have a chat about this topic without questioning each other’s credibility? Shouldn’t we be focused on the evidence and relevant issues instead? You could have just joined the discussion without the unnecessary put-down. :s

I could have DB and I’m sorry. I’m a prick. It’s a well known fact to all those who know me. Now I feel about as small as H. floresiensis. I’ve got a bone to pick with everybody.

[quote=“bismarck”]

I find it odd that people don’t believe in God, but will readily believe that we evolved from monkeys… :loco:

Especially considering there is no real evidence to support evolution, but rather that adaptation is a more acceptable explanation.

But whatever, if believing we come from monkeys makes you happy, good on you. And sure, there are aliens too. They do anal probes and abduct people. :unamused:[/quote] There are Christians who believe in evolution and even aliens. Some are even members of SETI. It often comes down to them having a scientific background and reading the bible and interpreting it metaphorically rather than literally.

Most Christians would admit things evolve although a lot who go with non-metaphorical version of the Creation story tend to disagree with Darwin’s theory.

Apology accepted, Fox. :sunglasses: Now back to the thread. I was expressing skepticism after reading a handful of alternate hypotheses, but hadn’t really read enough at that point; after reading more today, I’m not so sure of my skepticism anymore. It certainly doesn’t look like any small derivative of homo sapiens sapiens. Note that one of the reasons I mentioned microencephaly is that some researchers noted that the brain size of floresiensis at around 400cc was too small to be derived from an island-dwarfed erectus (erectus had brains 800-900cc); it

[quote=“bismarck”]
I tend to agree with you.

I find it odd that people don’t believe in God, but will readily believe that we evolved from monkeys… :loco:

Especially considering there is no real evidence to support evolution, but rather that adaptation is a more acceptable explanation.

But whatever, if believing we come from monkeys makes you happy, good on you. And sure, there are aliens too. They do anal probes and abduct people. :unamused:[/quote]

It all comes down to this: If you believe that evolution is true, then there is no God and we can be God ourselves… (yes boys and girls, we evolved from an amoeba, then we are getting bigger and better and smarter, and finally, we get to sail around space like Star Trek) and right and wrong is decided by majority opinion or the strongest, not moral standards (there would be none if evolution is true).

But if the Bible is true, then there is a God, and we better know who he is and do what he says. And there will be a moral standard set down by God himself in the 10 commandments.

Most thestic evolutionists are more followers than leader. They tend to follow the teaching of Darwin and intepret the bible according to their own opinion. The bible said in the Beginning, God… that is a pretty clear statement that everything was made by him. If God used evolution to create mankind, then there’s alot of problems. For one thing the Bible said there was no death before sin, and evolution says death brought man to this earth. Also that would make him a cruel god, because he didnt know what he wants and has to use blind chance and misfits to make something work. Consider this: If you found a watch on the ground, you would conclude that someone made it, right? Even the simplest of all creature, like a bacteria, is more complex than a space shuttle. So why would one conclude that it made itself? I think we have been lied to about evolution. The school tought us evolution like its fact. In most communist countries that is all they are tought, any mention of creationism and you are either out of the country or out of your life. If we take all the lies out of the textbook, it would make evolution look stupid.

I wouldn’t consider myself an expert either. However, I’ve read Darwin’s Origin of the Species, and although it’s an interesting read I wasn’t convinced. I’ve done further readin on the subject from other sources, and it just seems to me that their are more holes in the theory than actual hard facts. And even when you consider most of the “facts” they seem to dispute each other more often than they support each other.

But just because I don’t believe in it, or aint convinced, doesn’t mean I don’t find it all interesting.