March 10, 2008

OF COURSE, WERE THEY FINCHES...:

Discovery Challenges Finding of a Separate Human Species (JOHN NOBLE WILFORD, 3/10/08, NY Times)

More bones of unusually small-bodied people who lived long ago have been found on another Pacific island, and some scientists say this calls into question claims that the first such specimens, from Indonesia, represent a separate human species.

In a report released Monday, Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, described finding the skulls and bones of at least 25 individuals in two caves in Palau, in the Western Caroline Islands of Micronesia. The people apparently lived there 1,400 to 3,000 years ago. [...]

Writing in the online journal PloS One, www.plosone.org, Dr. Berger and colleagues from Duke and Rutgers University said the Palau specimens were modern humans about four feet tall, possibly dwarfs. They shared characteristics with the Flores specimens, but probably had larger, almost normal-size modern braincases.

The scientists said the one complete braincase and other fragments indicated a brain size “possibly at the very low end or below that typically observed in modern, small-bodied humans.”

“Based on the evidence from Palau,” Dr. Berger’s team concluded, “we hypothesize that reduction in the size of the face and chin, large dental size and other features noted here may in some cases be correlates of extreme body size reduction in H. sapiens.”

The Palau samples, the scientists continued, support “at least the possibility that the Flores hominids are simply an island adapted population of H. sapiens, perhaps with some individuals expressing congenital abnormalities.”


...their breeding isolation alone would make them a "species."

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 10, 2008 10:02 PM
Comments

"The scientists said the one complete braincase and other fragments indicated a brain size “possibly at the very low end or below that typically observed in modern, small-bodied humans.”"

Hmm, did they evolve into democrats?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 10, 2008 10:24 PM

...their breeding isolation alone would make them a "species."

...like North Koreans?

Posted by: Bruno at March 10, 2008 11:35 PM

Which is why they have completely different definitions for humans since the Holocaust.

Posted by: oj at March 11, 2008 6:18 AM
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