Homo floresiensis compared

Brown et al. 2004
described this diminutive (1.1m tall) Indonesian “hobbit” (Fig. 1) from 190,000–50,000 years ago.

Figure 1. Homo floresiensis compared to Homo sapiens. Not much difference, other than the chin and cranium. Not to scale.

Figure 1. Homo floresiensis compared to Homo sapiens. Not much difference, other than the chin and cranium. Not to scale.

Is this a species distinct from Homo sapiens?
The consensus says “Yes.” But many workers identified the best skull as a severely pathological Homo sapiens. We’ve seen this in our branch of paleontology when workers describe things they desire to see rather than things that are present (or absent) and to disregard taxa and traits that don’t fit their world view. Better to let the software make the important decisions when bias has any chance of influencing results.

Identifying features of H. floresiensis include:

  1. smaller body
  2. smaller cranial capacity
  3. the form of the teeth
  4. lack of a chin
  5. smaller angle in the humerus head

That’s not a long list
because the hobbit is indeed very close to extant humans.

Figure 2. Homo floresiensis to scale compared to Homo sapiens

Figure 2. Homo floresiensis to scale compared to Homo sapiens The central portion of the H. floresiensis skull has been restored here.

References
Brown P et al. 2004. A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia. Nature. 431 (7012): 1055–1061.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis
and other links therein

3 thoughts on “Homo floresiensis compared

  1. How many H. f. skulls etc are there? If only one than it might indeed be an aberrant individual, but with a better sample this would be far less likely. Unless e.g. the entire sample had suffered from some debilitating conditions, illness etc.

    • Only one skull, but post cranial remains of at least 9 individuals from the original site. New finds of teeth elsewhere.

      Postcranial characters of wrist, foot, shoulder, etc. fully discredit ideas that it’s a modern human with pathology. Question of relationships within Homo aren’t likely to be fully resolved with LRT character matrix, IMO.

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