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6.11: Homo floresiensis

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  • [ "article:topic", "Homo floresiensis", "authorname:aschoenberg" ]

    Homo floresiensis is a hominid found on Flores island in Indonesia that lived around 50,000 years ago. It is unusual for its overall small size and small brain size, but its very recent dates. Because of its small size it has been nicknamed the "hobbit".

    Scientists often use Law of Parsimony (Occam's Razor or the Keep It Simple, Stupid principle) to interpret limited data. So since Homo floresiensis co-existed with both Homo erectus and anatomically modern Homo sapiens, an early research question was whether Homo floresiensis were descended directly from Homo erectus or if they are within the range of variation of Homo sapiens. But, recent evidence suggests the last common ancestor with Homo floresiensis may be much earlier, closer to Homo habilis than to either H. erectus or H. sapiens.

    One of the arguments to include them as a variation of Homo sapiens is all of the examples of animals with smaller versions on islands. Here on the Channel Islands we find fossils of pygmy mammoths that were about the size of a pony, and today there is a species of pygmy fox. This could help explain the small stature of Homo floresiensis.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Read about insular dwarfism