March 27, 2013

Was Homo floresiensis a cretin?

From the paper:
We are therefore disturbed that Brown (2012), though selecting those features that imply to him that LB1 could not be a cretin, does not also cite the many features in those same publications that imply cretinism, nor does he cite the many more features, both observational and quantitative implying cretinism, in Oxnard (2008), Oxnard et al. (2011), and Dennison et al. (2012). What is sorely needed is an independent review of, and free access to, the Liang Bua material.
HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology
Volume 63, Issue 6, December 2012, Pages 407–412

More on the Liang Bua finds and modern human cretins

Charles Oxnard et al.

Brown (2012: LB1 and LB6 Homo floresiensis are not modern human (Homo sapiens) cretins, Journal of Human Evolution) makes errors of fact, omission and interpretation. Brown's comments refer, among others, to (1) delayed growth and development indicated by unfused epiphyses, (2) postcranial limb proportions: limbs to trunk, between limbs, and within limbs, (3) postcranial bone torsions and angles, (4) postcranial robusticity, real and apparent, (5) skull features, and (6) cretinism on Flores. In each of these areas, much information about cretins is incorrect and much information (Oxnard et al., 2010) comparing the Liang Bua remains with cretins is ignored.



Mike Keesey said...

Part of me thinks that maybe both sides will be proven right: LB1 and LB6 are a microcephalic representatives of a remnant population of early-diverging Homo. Why not?

Fiend of 9 worlds said...

It's always possible to find someone abnormal but this is the standard response that crops up with every new hominid. It's a hydrocephalic ape or microcephalic human etc. etc.

Considering how few skeletons there are out there it would be like hitting the lottery.

Komodo dragons bigger than today would mean pigmies smaller than those today, obviously they were trapped on the island a long long time for this to happen. Doesn't mean they made any of the tools they found, though, as it was inhabited by AMH at some point.

terryt said...

Here we go again. So the new discussion is claiming the island of Flores contained a population of cretins. All sorts of questions remain unanswered: is it really likely that Flores contained a whole colony suffering cretinism? How would they have survived? Why are people so anxious to avoid any suggestion parts of SE Asia may have had a separate species?

Fiend of 9 worlds said...

BTW it's almost sure this is Austraulopithecus anyway, due to the head proportion to the long arms.

Which is great because you can't sequence Australopithecus due to age.

So we can finally confirm if they are indeed proto human. Or even not, as the case may be.

Raimo Kangasniemi said...

I think the idea that Flores had a population of severely handicapped modern humans doesn't make sense. Hunter-gatherer societies don't have tended to let this severely disabled individuals to live normally, so the situation where this could have arosen would have had to be exceptional. I think people who make these cretin claims again and again are on thin ice when it comes to evidence, pretty naive about the realities of hunter-gatherer life and what surprises me is that obsession with Homo floresiensis when there are several more problematic proposed species and real problems in defining more solid species - for example, we hear again and again the claim that the Atapuerca Homo heidelbergensis would actually represent two different sub-species or species, but nobody seems interested of lookin this in detail.

Unknown said...

I think that every body who want to know more about Homofloresiensis found on 2004 can go and see directly on spot at Liang Bua cave. I just wonder when i was there and showed all skull but not on the cave. I permitted to local government where all skulls were kept there waiting until final decision of scientist of Indonesian and Australian. We hope all different opinion not to claim that Flores Hobbits will become the world surprise discovering but should be a good item to learn more for scientist.
Best all