utorok 6. apríla 2010

Homo Floresiensis

Human evolution is a fascinating topic. Until recently it has been thought that the last two species of humans to co-exist were the Neanderthals and modern humans. The last Neanderthals probably died out 28 thousand years ago, after having co-existed with Homo Sapiens Sapiens, or modern humans, our ancestors, for thousands of years. However recently there have been some exciting discoveries. One of the most exciting has been the discovery of a potentially new human species, that possibly survived on a remote Indonesian island, Flores, until 12 thousand years ago and maybe later!

Homo Floresiensis skull

"New evidence has emerged to show that an extinct, diminutive people known as "hobbits" from the Indonesian island of Flores belonged to a new species of primitive humans and not modern pygmies.
The 1 metre (3ft) tall, 30kg (65lb) people are believed to have roamed the Indonesian island of Flores, perhaps up to 8,000 years ago.
The new anatomical evidence, reported in today's Nature magazine, is based on the examination of lower limbs and especially an almost complete left foot and parts of the right. It shows that the species walked upright, like other known hominids, and there were five toes, as in other primates, but the big toe was stubby, more like a chimp's.
Controversy has been rife ever since the discovery of the species, formally named Homo floresiensis, was announced in 2004. The single skull was unusually small, indicating its brain was no bigger than a chimpanzee's. Some scientists argued that the species was nothing more than modern pygmy humans deformed by genetic or pathological disorders.
But in light of the new evidence, scientists believe it is unlikely that traits such as the small brain, primitive shoulders and wrists as previously reported "were simply a consequence of 'island dwarfing'.""

"Indonesian 'hobbits' were distinct species, say researchers." The Guardian
Homo Floresiensis a new species of ancient human

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