Homo floresiensis

Living reference work entry

Abstract

Homo floresiensis was announced in 2004 as a new, late surviving hominin species that lived between ~74 and 17 ka on the Indonesian island of Flores. Since then, there has been considerable controversy over its evolutionary position. H. floresiensis is a small-bodied and small-brained hominin that has a unique mosaic morphology which, taken at face value, suggests that its closest evolutionary affinity is with early Homo. Various analyses have suggested either H. habilis, H. georgicus, or H. erectus from Africa or Asia as the most probable ancestor. The alternative to this “new species” hypothesis is that H. floresiensis, and particularly the LB1-type skeleton, represents a pathological modern human suffering from one or a combination of syndromes, which produce disordered growth (dwarfism) and microcephaly. Both hypotheses have compelling aspects, but the “pathological modern human” hypothesis has yet to account for the total morphological pattern observed in H. floresiensis. At present this is a less convincing hypothesis than the “new species” hypothesis. Recent research is pointing to a H. erectus as the most plausible H. floresiensis ancestor. It is known from Island Southeast Asia in the proper time frame and would avoid the paradigm changing necessity of postulating an unknown Asian pre-erectus ancestor. However, many questions remain and the issues surrounding H. floresiensis will not be resolved without further analysis and discovery.

Keywords

Modern Human Early Homo Early Hominins Laron Syndrome Fossil Hominins 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wenner-Gren FoundationNew YorkUSA

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