October 11, 2005

New paper on Flores hominids

I will post the abstract from Nature here when it becomes available. For the moment, read what Carl Zimmer, John Hawks in an announcement and a longer post, and the BBC are saying.

Nature 437, 1012-1017

Further evidence for small-bodied hominins from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia

M. J. Morwood et al.


Homo floresiensis was recovered from Late Pleistocene deposits on the island of Flores in eastern Indonesia, but has the stature, limb proportions and endocranial volume of African Pliocene Australopithecus1. The holotype of the species (LB1), excavated in 2003 from Liang Bua, consisted of a partial skeleton minus the arms. Here we describe additional H. floresiensis remains excavated from the cave in 2004. These include arm bones belonging to the holotype skeleton, a second adult mandible, and postcranial material from other individuals. We can now reconstruct the body proportions of H. floresiensis with some certainty. The finds further demonstrate that LB1 is not just an aberrant or pathological individual, but is representative of a long-term population that was present during the interval 95–74 to 12 thousand years ago. The excavation also yielded more evidence for the depositional history of the cave and for the behavioural capabilities of H. floresiensis, including the butchery of Stegodon and use of fire.


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