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Re: New Homo Species!!?



>"It has little to nothing to do with multi-regionalsim.  Multiregionalsim
is basically paleoanthropologies version of the birds aren't dinosaurs
hypothesis.  Nobody believes it but a vocal and well publicized minority.
Also, The primitive features of the postcrania suggest it is well off the
beaten trail towards H. sapiens.  They hope to recover DNA, so in theory
this could be answered better in the future."

I don't pretend to understand all of the highly polarised and
miss-represented debate over human evolution anymore.

It is clearly off the beaten trail.
It is probably a largely irrelevant find in regards to genetic flow and
broader evolution based on its isolation. Of course one has to consider
whether "primitive" features in the skull are related to environmental
conditions and small size. The same conditions and demands that produced the
adaptations of our other small relatives could always work again on us.

>"The specimens in Nature sure look real, and they recovered parts of 8
individuals, although not all are described.  They are all the same size,
and all adults, so it appears that the 1 meter height and 25 kg mass
estimates are pretty tight.
I think most paleoanthropologists would agree with Tattersal that human-like
language didn't evolve until well after the H. erectus "grade" of evolution,
so it is highly unlikely that H. floresiensis spoke (which also makes
interbreeding or meaningful cultural exchange with huumans less likely)."

I'm not sure how quickly we can jump to conclusions about language, even ten
years ago the concept of controled fires 800,000yrs ago would have been
considered silly.

How complicated is language? What relevance does use of vocabular, tense and
sentence structure have to communication? What anatomy and intellegence is
required to communicate what level of information?

Inter-breeding seems pretty impossible. Even if they were modern, it would
require a large degree of genetic isolation to produce such tiny individuals
and once they were that small interbreeding outside of the lab seems very
unlikely.

>"Man, little hominins hunting dwarf elephants, and escaping into trees from
4 meter long lizards.  It's like all those low-budget dinosaur movies with
oversized lizards were right, if we just change the scale!  Like an episode
of Land of the Lost..."

Could it climb effectively? Can we climb effectively?

>"Seriously, the australopithicine-like pelvis and longer limbs make this a
really cool member of our genus.  If it truly re-invaded the trees (to
escape from the lizards, presumably), what a phenominal alternate route
evolution drove.  I love htis hyptohesis, but I think we need to keep an
open mind to the possibility that this could be an even more primitive
member of Homo (below the H. erectus - H. sapiens clade), or even a member
of Australopithecus.  I know that sounds fantastic chronologically and
biogeographically, but the post-crania is pretty primitive looking, and some
of the skull characteristics that put it in Homo can also be found in the
Taung Child (a juvenile australopithecine).  So it's possible that
paedomorphosis could have produced an australopithecine with more Homo-like
skull characters."

Would the evidence of advanced tools (assuming it is correct), imply that
this person is descended from advanced tool users?

I doubt that a specie living in a relatively small range, without much
ecological or group competition or separation and with such a small brain
size could independently develop this level of tool use.

There is some evidence that some modern human populations show at least
morphological similarity with local fossils for possibly up to 50,000yrs
ago. This indicates a stable environment and at least convergence if not
direct ancestry. I see no problem in a distict population existing in the
surrounding islands over a much larger period of time.

>"Not saying it's true, but I don't think the morphology is as clear cut as,
say, the biogeographic story appears to be.  Hopefully DNA will be
recovered, that should help clear things up.

Wow. I'm still in shock."

I am still in shock too.
The only thing that would be more shocking is if they were still alive.
Interesting time to live in.

>"Oh, and erectine grade Homo (somtimes called H. ergaster) may have been
taller on average than modern humans.  I don't have good numbers on Asian H.
erectus height, but we are talking some serious shrinking here.  For
reference, pygmies average 1.5 meters (50% taller!) than H. floresiensis.
--
Scott Hartman
Zoology & Physiology
University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY 82070
(307) 742-3799"

Thank you
-Jonas Weselake-George