The riddle of prehistoric floresian dwarfs

The prehistoric world of tiny people who hunted is amazing on dwarf elephants, hamster rats, chest of drawers and even dragons. This scenario is more like science fiction, for example Arthur Conan Doil’s novel “The Lost World” than the scientific fact.

However, recent finds from a distant Indonesian island can change everything. The mystery of the island of Flores, located between Sumatra and East Timor, in recent years is an object the broadest discussions.

In September 2003, an international research group in led by R.P. Soyeono of the Indonesian Archaeological Center and By Michael Morewood from the University of New England at Armidale for a long time conducted excavations at the site of a large limestone caves called Liang Bois.

At a depth of 20 feet they discovered an intact skeleton 30 year old woman. It seemed to archaeologists that these are relics representative of the hominid species, but its growth was only 3 feet. There were other bones nearby, so today managed to discover the remains of nine individuals.

The riddle of prehistoric floresian dwarfsA photo from open sources

Using methods of radiocarbon and thermoluminescent dating, it was found that the oldest of them approximately 94,000 years, and the latest 12,000 years. With bones hominids in the cave were found the remains of fish, frogs, snakes, turtles, hamster rats, birds and flying mice, as well as more large animals – such as small stegodon species (extinct dwarf elephants) and chest of drawers.

Studying fragments of charred rock and charred bones of the layer where the skeleton of the hominid was located, scientists came to the conclusion that the dwarfs of Flores knew how to handle fire. Another important the find discovered in the cave was rather complex stone tools, including small blades that could be attached on a wooden pole. Some stone tools were in close proximity to stegodons, which means floresian dwarfs hunted them. The research team has published materials about his incredible findings in October 2004 in the scientific the journal “Natural”.

The conclusion they made after researching the Florentine dwarfs, it was incredible: scientists announced the discovery of a new species dwarf people who got the name floresian man (homo floresiensis). They suggested that this species existed on island in parallel with people of the modern type. Skeleton got in The scientific environment is nicknamed Little Lady Fleur (or LB1), and the name species – the hobbits – borrowed from the book of J. R. R. Tolkien “Lord of the Rings”.

All individuals were about 3 feet tall. They had long hands and heads the size of a grapefruit. These two-legged creatures had a very small brain (it made up a third of the brain of the current person, which is even slightly smaller than the chimpanzee brain). Floresian dwarfs did sophisticated tools preying on miniature elephants. They lived in the same period as people of the modern type who actively settled land surface.

A photo from open sources

Researchers concluded that the Florentine people were not the dwarf form of modern man. They were descendants Homo erectus (homo erectus) and descended from Eastern European Neanderthals who are about 30,000 years ago were crowded out by the Cro-Magnons. Homo erectus also disappeared immediately after the arrival of modern people in these territories type.

The question arises: how did scientists determine the size floresian man. According to one theory, the island of Flores was isolated and until recently only inhabited on its territory certain types of creatures that managed to get to him. These animals subsequently became the object of unusual evolutionary processes, as a result of which some turned into giants, for example, in Komodo’s monitor lizards (which exist to this day), and others in dwarfs (such as stegodons).

Some scholars believed that the man of Florida was a descendant Homo erectus, who lived on the island of Flores for 840,000 years back. Leading an isolated lifestyle, Florentine people gradually turned into dwarfs, experiencing the effects of the same mutational processes, like local elephants. Dwarfism apparently due to the scarcity of resources on the island of Flores.

Floresian man is recognized by wide scientific circles as absolutely unexpected but very important discovery in modern stories. This new representative of the genus homo can change our ideas about human evolution. For example, we tend to think that for the manufacture of complex tools, man needs big brain.

A photo from open sources

However, the miniature brain possessed by Lady Fleur refutes this statement, which means scientists need to analyze more deeply facts before making conclusions about intelligence and mental abilities of our ancestors with a small brain. One of pioneers of floresian man Dr. Michael Morwood hypothesized that dwarfs even had a primitive the language with which they communicated while hunting elephants and large lizards. However, other researchers do not agree with this. They are note that chimpanzees and even wolves can hunt together, but their ability to speak was not formed.

Finds on Flores also disprove conventional wisdom that people of the modern type became the only earthly wanderers after the Neanderthals died out 30,000 years ago. Floresian dwarfs survived until the first Cro-Magnons and, unlike most other representatives human population existed for quite some time in parallel with a modern type of person.

This means that two different human species: man Homo sapiens and floresian man (homo floresiensis) lived on Earth at the same time. Although the oldest remains modern-day humans found on Flores Island, only 12 000 years, both of these species were supposed to exist on the island at the same time.

The reaction of the scientific community and history buffs was equally unpredictable, like the discovery itself. Head of Anthropology Department London’s Natural History Museum Chris Stringer said: “Many researchers (including myself) dispute these claims” and added that in the floresian dwarfs he was not surprised.

He also argued that long arms can testify only that the Florentine man spent a lot of time on trees: “Perhaps if there were Komodo lizards around you, you I would also like to climb a tree with my children in search of security. ”

And today, there remain many opponents of the conclusions made on the results of a study of finds from Liang Bois Cave. Famous Polynesian paleontologist Teuku Jacob stated that LB1 was not at all representative of a new species, and belonged to the Australian-Melanesian race of man of the modern type and its age is approximately 1300-1800 years.

Jacob and some other famous researchers believed that bones actually belong to modern man (homo sapiens), a dwarf with a brain defect called microcephaly (pathological disorder, which is characterized by a small the size of the head and brain and is often associated with mental problems development). In support of this theory, anatomist Macie Henneberg stated that the skull LB1 is almost identical to the Cretan sample microcephalus.

However, associate professor at the University of New England at the New South Wales Peter Brown, who worked on an article published in of the journal “Natural”, I do not agree with such an explanation. Your point view, he argued that a small number of people with similar violations survive to adulthood, and the skull microcephals have a number of specific signs, but none of them not found in LB1.

Brown also noted that since all the remains found in Liang Bois cave, have signs of dwarfism, it is difficult to assume that the whole population suffered from microcephaly. At the beginning of 2005 an independent panel of experts led by Dr. Dean Folk of Florida State University began studying the skull LB1. The results of the study were published in the journal Science in March 2005. Scientists compared the three-dimensional image of the brain LB1 with heads of other species: chimpanzees, modern humans (including modern dwarfs), microcephals with a bipedal man.

A photo from open sources

Then they made a comparison with primitive humanoid creatures such as Australopithecus africa (Australopithecus africanus) and Ethiopian parantrop (Paranthropus aethiopicus), and also with modern gorillas, and concluded that the brain of LB1 absolutely not like the brain of dwarfs or microcephals, but has something common with the bipedal brain and that “this truly a new species of anthropoids. “However, these results do not convinced those who claimed that Dr. Folk examined the skull with signs of microcephaly. Thus, the discussions continue.

It is entirely possible the question of the origin of the floresian people will become clear after DNA analysis. Relatively small the age of skeletal material, which is undoubtedly authentic, gives hope for success. However, it is known that high temperature negatively affects DNA, which means tropical Indonesia’s climate significantly reduces the chances. Probably new finds and more complete skeletal materials from Liang Bois will allow for DNA analysis to isolate this component in LB1.

Nevertheless, scientists do not lose hope: if ever succeed to extract human floresian DNA, a new one may arise an idea of ​​the course of human evolution. As regards fate dwarf inhabitants of the island, then it is associated with the eruption of one of Indonesian volcanoes located near Liang Cave Bois (12,000 years ago), which destroyed the local population floresian people and most of the island’s unique wildlife Flores.

Perhaps a part of the floresian dwarfs survived in other parts islands. It is curious that in the legends of modern inhabitants of the island Flores details the little hairy people who lived on the island. Locals call them the ecu of what is translated means “glutton grandmother.” Signs of these little men were growth about 3 feet, long arms and fingers, which is typical for humans floresian. They muttered something to each other on some primitive language and, like parrots, could repeat what was said the inhabitants of the village.

Apparently, the last time the ecu was seen was on the island in the 19th century. before the advent of the Dutch colonists. Of great interest the connection between the man of Florence and the inhabitants of Sumatra, where, according to According to some sources, three-foot hominids, called Orang Pendek. Zoologists cataloged images of the mysterious the apes that they observed in the west of Sumatra in the territory of Kerinsi-Seblat Park more than 150 years ago.

In addition, I managed to get foot prints and hair, which probably belonged to this creature. Researchers who worked on finds from the island of Flores claimed that an orangpendek from Sumatra could be a preserved specimen of the Florentine person. Henry Guy, editor in chief, agreed with this version and even went further in his conclusions.

He argued that the discovery of a man of Florida, who managed so exist for a long time and survive until recently (in terms of geology), “increases the likelihood that in stories of others mythical humanoid creatures like yeti eat grain the truth … Today, incredible creatures that are extracted from earthly depths, studying cryptozoology. ”

It is impossible to deny, as the researchers believe, the possibility discover a living individual of a floretic person, or an ecu of since there are still many unknowns in Southeast Asia mammalian science. Bert Roberta and Michael Morwood are convinced that in tropical forests and caves preserved on the island of Flores, related to ebu gogo stories, samples have yet to be discovered hair or other traces, and possibly of the living representatives themselves.

They believe that the remains of skeletons of others, no less strange species of the genus homo are waiting for their discoverer in other isolated corners of southeast asia. So, extinct species of the genus homo, such as a Florentine man who lived to a relatively recent time and remaining unknown until 2003 are obvious evidence that in our view of history humanity still has many blank spots, significantly more than we could imagine.

Cave Island DNA Time Evolution

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