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Homo Floresiensis ('Hobbits'; Small Archaic Humans)

An intriguin photo, I don't think I have seen it before.
 
The text from the book:

Screenshot-2018-7-16 Spaceships in prehistory(7).png



Screenshot-2018-7-16 Spaceships in prehistory(9).png
 
The subsequent BBC version of the story:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45049024

... includes the following misleading passage:

The new analysis, published in the journal Science, found no trace of the Hobbit's DNA in the present-day people.

This is misleading because no 'Hobbit' DNA has yet been successfully recovered from fossil remains, and the study was based solely on the lack of unexpected or inexplicable genes in the modern pygmy genomes the researchers tested.

In other words, the extent of the study's outcomes is that the local modern pygmy population doesn't seem to include any genetic features clearly arriving from sources other than modern humans plus the odd Neanderthal and Denisovan remnants.

Without 'Hobbit' DNA and genomic analysis thereof, it remains unknown whether Homo floresiensis carried any unique genomic features whose absence would prove there'd been no admixture of 'Hobbit' genes with the modern pygmy population's ancestors.

I'm not claiming these researchers were definitely wrong, but I don't believe anyone can say it's 'case closed'.

This seems to be a good example of the Fortean maxim "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
 
It strikes me that, if it weren't for the tools, the skeletal features of these specimens would be interpreted as more apelike than humanlike. The association with tools, however, is leading conservative researchers to exagerrate the human traits and excuse the apelike ones; if a reason is found to disassociate the tools from the skeletons, will they continue to insist on these (IMHO rather strained) similarities and suddenly conclude that it was an ape all along?

My emotional attachment to the idea of a separate species of humans existing alongside us for awhile is straightforward enough and I'll admit it without a qualm. Those who insist on Flora being a bizarre deformity of sapiens seem to have an equal and opposite emotional attachment - but based on what? You don't have to do much research into the matter to understand that our lonesomeness on the planet is of relatively recent development. So why is it such a huge leap for these people? In a fundamentalist Judeo-Christian, I'd understand it; in a scientist, I don't.

The arm/wrist bones are very unlike modern humans and more closely resemble those of great apes or even australopithecines. Also, the skulls show evidence of a sagittal crest, which is common in apes, but very rare in Homo sapiens. Mind you, australopithecines are thought to have been tool users and even today's chimps and bonobos will use crude hammer-stones.
 

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Apparently Homo floresiensis was most closely related to Homo habilis. Two as yet un-named new hominin species from Red Deer Cave in China, dating to only 10,000 years ago also seem to be linked with the H.habilis line.
 
These remains were pulled from the same stratigraphic layer

AAAAAARGH! please let this be journalistic licence!
 
Study backs 'hobbit' island dwarfism theory
A diminutive species of human whose remains were found on the Indonesian island of Flores could have shrunk as a result of island dwarfism as it adapted to its environment. ...

Here's another article explaining the "island rule" and how it may explain the Flores population's small size ...
Why Humans' Extinct 'Hobbit' Relatives Were So Small

It's not every day that scientists discover a new human species.

But that's just what happened back in 2004, when archaeologists uncovered some very well-preserved fossil remains in the Liang Bua cave on Flores Island, Indonesia. The diminutive size of this new human species, Homo floresiensis, earned it the nickname "Hobbit."

Shockingly, researchers believed it had survived until the end of the last Ice Age, some 18,000 years ago. That was much later than Neanderthals lived, later than any human species other than our own. ...

Almost immediately, interpretations of this Hobbit skeleton met with fierce criticism from both anthropologists and evolutionary biologists. The poor Hobbit was accused of being an example not of a small new human species, but an abnormal Homo sapiens, bearing any of a variety of growth and hormonal conditions. The Hobbit, many scientists decided, had no place among the giants of the human evolutionary record.

Yet she — yes, the Hobbit was later found to be a female — had her revenge. This tiny, small-brained creature stood just a bit more than three feet tall and had a brain as big as a chimp. But her place in the human ancestral line was cemented when researchers uncovered another tiny individual in Flores. This second, much older discovery debunked the idea that the Hobbit was a unique, abnormal Homo sapiens.

After 15 years of intense research, anthropologists now confidently date the Liang Bua individual to have lived between 60,000 and 90,000 years ago. Her much older cousins in Flores lived 700,000 years ago. This long reign testifies to the success of this tiny human species, no matter how small-statured and small-brained they were. ...

So why did tiny humans wind up living on these islands? For us biogeographers and evolutionary biologists, the answer was right in front of us: the island rule. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/why-hobbits-were-so-small.html
 
In other words, the extent of the study's outcomes is that the local modern pygmy population doesn't seem to include any genetic features clearly arriving from sources other than modern humans plus the odd Neanderthal and Denisovan remnants.

I thought only Native Australian's and people from Papua New Guinea had Denisovan DNA? I assume Pygmy people could have Neanderthal DNA traces from Europeans but Denisovans seems a stretch?
 
I thought only Native Australian's and people from Papua New Guinea had Denisovan DNA? I assume Pygmy people could have Neanderthal DNA traces from Europeans but Denisovans seems a stretch?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your query, but ...

I used the term "pygmy" as it was used in the publication being discussed, which cited "pygmy" in the generic sense of "short-statured population." This was specifically in relation to the Rampasasa group that lives in the vicinity of the Homo floresiensis site. It had nothing to do with the (African; Congo) Pygmy group(s).
 
Maybe I'm misunderstanding your query, but ...

I used the term "pygmy" as it was used in the publication being discussed, which cited "pygmy" in the generic sense of "short-statured population." This was specifically in relation to the Rampasasa group that lives in the vicinity of the Homo floresiensis site. It had nothing to do with the (African; Congo) Pygmy group(s).

Sorry, my fault. I came into the thread late and only skim read the last few pages, I thought you and the article were referring to Congolese Pygmies.
 
Just a note to forewarn that this article may not be to everyone's... taste...

How Eating Rat Stew Serves Hobbit Research

Source: sapiens.org
Date: 28 February, 2020

“Don’t forget to save every last bone!” zooarchaeologist Elizabeth Veatch called across the patio to me and our Indonesian teammates. We nodded, our mouths full of turmeric-spiced meat. Then we plucked tiny bones from our teeth and placed them in a Tupperware container.

We were sitting in a village called Teras on the island of Flores, and it was my first time eating rat. But this wasn’t just any rodent. It was a Flores giant rat (Papagomys armandvillei), which grows as long as a raccoon and tastes like oily rabbit, with a strong stench.

Nor was this just any lunch. Veatch and her colleagues will examine these butchered, stewed, and chewed rat bones to uncover secrets about the diets and behaviors of mysterious ancient hominins.

The inspiration for our rat-based lunch came from a limestone cave nestled in a nearby hillside: the archaeological site known as Liang Bua. This cave is where the fascinating, controversial human relative Homo floresiensis was discovered in 2003. This island species—nicknamed “hobbits” by the research team—surprised the scientific community with its small stature, chimpanzee-sized brain, and ability to make and use stone tools.

The hobbits’ mixture of unexpected anatomy, location, and existence within the last 100,000 years initially sparked debates over whether they were a new species. But after 16 years of analyses and excavations at Liang Bua, the controversy has simmered as scientists have reached a broad consensus that hobbits are indeed a new species.

https://www.sapiens.org/evolution/hobbit-diet/
 
Newly published research confirmed the notably high degree of genetic affiliation between the 'hobbits' and the mysterious Denisovans, but failed to find traces of prehistoric interbreeding with the modern human lineage. The implications of these results aren't clear. One speculative interpretation is that Homo floresiensis represents a southern branch of the Denisovans themselves.
Identity of mysterious 'Hobbits' possibly found

The extinct human lineage nicknamed "the hobbit" may not be a distant relative of modern humans as previously thought. Instead, hobbits may be members of the mysterious close relatives of modern humans known as Denisovans, and may have interbred with ancestors of modern humans on the islands of Southeast Asia, researchers say.

Although modern humans, Homo sapiens, are now the only surviving human lineage, other human species once roamed across Earth. For instance, previous research suggested Homo erectus, the most likely ancestor of modern humans, made its way out of Africa by at least 1.8 million years ago. In contrast, modern humans may have only begun migrating out of Africa about 200,000 years ago.

In the past 20 years, researchers have discovered many new branches of the human family tree on the islands of maritime Southeast Asia, which includes Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and East Timor. These human ancestors include the extinct species Homo floresiensis, often known as "the hobbit" for its miniature body, as well as the even smaller Homo luzonensis. Both species survived until about 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, meaning they may have lived in the region at the same time as modern humans. ...

Recently, scientists have detected signs that extinct groups of humans not only overlapped timewise but also had sex with the modern humans of maritime Southeast Asia. For example, fossil DNA suggests the ancestors of modern Papuans and South Asians interbred with a southern branch of the mysterious Denisovans, who were close relatives of Neanderthals. ...

But even though modern people in these regions have relatively high levels of Denisovan DNA, suggesting significant interbreeding, no Denisovan fossils have been found in the region — the only traces of this enigmatic group found so far were a finger bone and jawbone unearthed in Siberia and Tibet.

Now, researchers suggest that either the hobbit H. floresiensis or its smaller cousin H. luzonensis or both may actually be southern Denisovans. They detailed their findings online March 22 in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/mysterious-hobbits-human-lineage-identity.html
 
Here are the bibliographic details and abstract for the new research report.

Teixeira, J.C., Jacobs, G.S., Stringer, C. et al.
Widespread Denisovan ancestry in Island Southeast Asia but no evidence of substantial super-archaic hominin admixture
Nat Ecol Evol (2021).
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-021-01408-0

Abstract
The hominin fossil record of Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) indicates that at least two endemic ‘super-archaic’ species—Homo luzonensis and H. floresiensis—were present around the time anatomically modern humans arrived in the region >50,000 years ago. Intriguingly, contemporary human populations across ISEA carry distinct genomic traces of ancient interbreeding events with Denisovans—a separate hominin lineage that currently lacks a fossil record in ISEA. To query this apparent disparity between fossil and genetic evidence, we performed a comprehensive search for super-archaic introgression in >400 modern human genomes, including >200 from ISEA. Our results corroborate widespread Denisovan ancestry in ISEA populations, but fail to detect any substantial super-archaic admixture signals compatible with the endemic fossil record of ISEA. We discuss the implications of our findings for the understanding of hominin history in ISEA, including future research directions that might help to unlock more details about the prehistory of the enigmatic Denisovans.

SOURCE: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01408-0
 
Are they still alive?

In 2004, anthropologists amazed the world by discovering fossils of tiny humanlike creatures that lived on an island in Indonesia at the same time as modern people, as recently as 50,000 years ago. Now, Gregory Forth, a retired professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta, has written a new book—Between Ape and Human—exploring whether these "hobbits" could still be alive. I hope they are. From The Scientist:

Twenty years [previous to the discovery of the remains], when I began ethnographic fieldwork on Flores, I heard tales of humanlike creatures, some still reputedly alive although very rarely seen. In the words of the H. floresiensis discovery team's leader, the late Mike Morwood, last at the University of Wollongong in Australia, descriptions of these hominoids "fitted floresiensis to a T. […]
Our initial instinct, I suspect, is to regard the extant ape-men of Flores as completely imaginary. But, taking seriously what [a local human population called the] Lio people say, I've found no good reason to think so. What they say about the creatures, supplemented by other sorts of evidence, is fully consistent with a surviving hominin species, or one that only went extinct within the last 100 years.

https://boingboing.net/2022/04/21/a...-hobbits-of-indonesia-may-still-be-alive.html
 

Face of a 'real-life hobbit" who lived in Indonesia 60,000 years ago is revealed for the first time


Homo floresiensis was discovered in 2003, when its skeleton was found in a cave on the island of Flores, Indonesia.

Now, equipped with a digital model of the skull, a multinational team has rebuilt the skeleton's face using data drawn from both modern humans and chimpanzees.

71903897-12173187-image-a-39_1686216421454.jpg


Brazilian graphics expert Cicero Moraes co-authored the new study. He said: 'Roughly speaking, they probably had a less protruding nose than modern men, the mouth region was a little more projected than ours, and the brain volume was significantly smaller.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/science...ived-Indonesia-60-000-years-ago-revealed.html

maximus otter
 
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