Talk:Homo floresiensis/Archive 1

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Brain-mass minus spinal-cord-mass versus encephalization quotient

The discovery that the brain-size increases with the surface-area of an animal is great and all, but I remember reading in an Issue of Natural History from the 1980s an article by Stephen Jay Gould where he noted encephalization quotient is good and all, but he observed that animals with small brains for the size of their bodies have brains with about the same size as their spinal cords. He wrote about this in "Bligh's Bounty." He figures that all other things being equal (which they never are), the intelligence of an animal should be proportional to the mass of the brain minus the mass of spinal cord. ¿Does anyone know the brain-mass minus spinal-cord-mass for Homo floresiensis?

-- Ŭalabio 22:42, 2004 Dec 4 (UTC)

Mixing Ebu Gogo and facts

I suggest more clear separation of Ebu Gogo mythology from archeological find. Even archeologists consider that Ebu Gogo were based on real H.f. and survived until 19. century as a mere fantastic possibility. These tales were traditionaly attributed to monkeys.

In a similar vein, I removed the discussion of unnamed scientists taking reports of Orang Pendek seriously (not to mention the discoveries of hair and footprints, etc.). If you're going to send us off in search of Bigfoot, please at least do us the courtesy of providing references. Speculations attributed to anonymous scientists hardly constitute verifiable sources.


All this debate is exciting, though it is unfortunate that some jump in without reading all the available research. Regardless, what I've noticed is that the article itself is getting a little repetitive. I am not invested in this article, and I am not an anthropologist, just a lifelong learner, but I hope that those of you who are repsonsible for this article will do a little cleanup work to protect the status the article has achieved. I'm not going to list everything I've noticed, but I hope all involved will take a few minutes to review the piece in its entirety to find ways to improve it, rather than concentrating on a few argument-inducing paragraphs every time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:56, 22 June 2007

Human ancestor?

The National Geographic headline '"Hobbit" Discovered: Tiny Human Ancestor Found in Asia' is positively misleading, as there is no proof at all that, even if H. floresiensis is confirmed to be a true new species, that they were ancestors of H. sapiens. I'm removing the link, as the New Scientist one seems much better. -- Anon.

It is a very poor title, since no one is even claiming they are our ancestors, in fact quite the opposite. It should say "Tiny Human Cousins" or somesuch. But it does happen to be one of the better articles, since as it points out it was an expedition partly funded by NG. --Eean 05:24, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The National Geographic headline seems to be using "ancestor" in the non-scientific sense of "forerunner" (merriam-webster). In that sense I think their usage is more or less correct in the popular context, although many will probably feel they should be using it according to the more scientific usage. --Nectarflowed 10:43, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
But the really interesting thing about this discovery is that they were not forerunners, but actually (possibly) lived at the same time as the anatomically modern human (only in another part of the world, or possibly even in the same environment as Homo sapiens). — David Remahl 10:54, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Date of discovery?

Does anyone know when this discovery was made? (by the way, I'm the original author of this article - wasn't logged in at the time.) --Sum0 18:46, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I heard that they waited almost a year before publishing it. But I don't know wether that means early 2004 or late 2003. Is anyone a Nature subscriber? — David Remahl 10:56, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Sorry to take so long to answer your important question, but I've only just noticed it - although I've been aware of the issue since day one (or day minus one).

The important date in the discovery of a new species is the date of publication of the original description. This is part of a formal, legal-type process which must follow the rules of an International Code of Nomenclature (of which there are more than just one, which common sense would suggest). For Homo floresiensis, the intended original description is dated 28 October 2004 (on p.1055 of Nature v.431 under the title "A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia"). But, in my off-the-web reprints, I see the name "Homo floresiensis" in at least four documents published on 27 October 2004. One or other of the authors of these publications, Rex Dalton, Henry Gee, Kate Wong and Michael Hopkin (and probably others), may well have some claim to be the author of Flores Man for the remainder of time. A decision may be needed on this, possibly by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature in accordance with their Rules. As I understand it, the issue would hinge on whether an earlier publication containing the new species' Latin names contained a recognisable description of the species.

The [intended] original description is not without a related misdemeanour - the name "Homo floresiensis" appears in the Summary at the start of the article (Nature. 28 October 2004: 1055). This is inadvisable in that it can lead to the present problem, such as by an editor pre-publishing the Summary (or Abstract, etc). I shall now edit paragraph 1 of the Main Page accordingly. Have fun, but don't forget the environment! Stan(CS)Woods 22:27, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

That's me above. I've now overcome a cookie problem and can sign off properly. First a definite answer to SumO's question: the Holotyoe, LB1, was excavated in September, 2003. This is from the original Nature article quoted above. Cheers, — Stanskis 01:49, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)

My comments above are more or less unnecessary: the intention is clear that Nature magazine publish the original description on October 28, 2004. At the same time it was not the intention of any journalist to pre-empt the research scientists.

But, the intentions of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICNZ)(4th Edn, 2000) touch on the points raised. This is for good reasons - to avoid future nomenclatural problems. These greatly exceed the number of valid taxonomic names, that is, lots of problems do get created. The ICZN says:

"Recommendation 9A: Authors to avoid unintended publication in abstracts. "not liable to unintended publication.""

"Recommendation 21A: Publication on other than specified date. An author, editor or publisher should not publish, permit to be published, or distribute a work [one containing a 'nomenclatural act'] in whole or in part, for the first time other than on the specified date of publication. An author who receives separates in advance of the specified date of publication should not distribute them until he or she is certain that the work has been published."

Cheers, — Stanskis 23:00, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Main page

This has got to be the science story of the year, yet it isn't on the front page. - Xed 20:13, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Good point, although I'm sure it'll be there in the next day or so. ALso congreatualtions to all contributors for getting such an importnant and informative article up so quickly. Lisiate 20:24, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Why wait? Even though Main Page is protected, the page that you wnat to edit is Template:In the news. (I have done so.) -- Toby Bartels 22:29, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Not fossils

The BBC article says that the remains aren't fossilised, and might possibly yield DNA... Our front page and this article say that the remains are fossilised. Can someone try to find out which is right and correct our article if necessary? fabiform | talk 22:43, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Just for the record: The front page says it only because our article says it. -- Toby Bartels 23:10, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Nature's own news site agrees that they're not fossils. I will edit accordingly. -- Toby Bartels 23:40, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Cheers Toby, good investigative work. :) fabiform | talk 23:51, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Thanks! (Although I forgot to fix the box on the Main Page!) -- Toby Bartels 02:36, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The bones are too recent to be fossilized (under the conditions in which they were found). They're just bones. Hair follicles are a fairly good place to find DNA. That's where scientists find the best mammoth DNA. So maybe someday we'll get a sequence. --Monado (talk) 03:38, 9 December 2008 (UTC)


"The isolated position of Flores suggests that the ancestors of H. floresiensis may have reached the island by boat around 100,000 years ago, suggesting a hitherto unsuspected technological capability."

I believe this is incorrect.... The term used to describe the process by which the H. floresiensis may have landed on the island, "rafting", has nothing to do with boats. Rafting means that a piece of some mainland broke off due to some geological process (a mudslide is a possibility), and literally turned into a giant floating raft, carrying plants and animals to whatever it crashes into. (These natural "rafts" can be several kilometers across...) As an extra note, it's possible that certain features of the H. floresiensis can be explained by the Founder effect (although it should be noted that their small size is not thought to be because of this.) Could someone please correct this (if they also believe it to be incorrect)? --GameGod 19:10, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • No, this is not a reference to "rafting", but to actual deliberately constructed bamboo rafts, which is the hypothesis of the discoverers.--Pharos 10:02, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Ok, I don't know wiki very well, but someone who does should carfully look at this. I am almost certain that the discovering scientists of the fossils didn't name the things Hobbits, and objected to their being called such. Sadly the link that I think supported this is no longer available:,2106,3119620a10,00.html it was once a story on Anyone available to help on this? Oh, and if I was supposed to put this at the bottom not the top, oops, as I said I'm not to good with wiki yet.

It took me a little bit to figure out whether the nickname "hobbit" was the creation of the popular press. Some of them gave citations like "the dig crew", but I didn't see anything convincing until about a third of the way down [1], where the name is used in a quotation by one of the Nature coauthors. I mention this in case anybody else has the same suspicions that I had. -- Toby Bartels 23:06, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

IMO it's an unfortunate nickname (but should get little kids world-wide excited). A-giau 03:09, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I'd be interested to know why you think it's unfortunate. It seems appropriate to me; my only complaint is that it's too culturally specific. (It would be perfect if they'd been discovered in Warwickshire.) -- Toby Bartels 05:38, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Indonesia is also a fitting location for finding hobbits. Departing from Middle-earth by boat and circumnavigating Australia, one will naturally arrive in some part of Indonesia, whereupon the traveler would likely be set upon by dragons. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 13:12, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't like the nickname and I don't think we should be promoting it on Wikipedia, though a mention in a section on media coverage would be justified. It merges fact and fiction in the popular consciousness and is better suited to soundbite journalism. — Trilobite (coming to you from Warwickshire!) 22:02, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Whether we think the nickname is appropriate or not is irrelevant. We are not here to promote anything- simply provide encyclopedic information. If the species has been nicknamed by the international community and the nickname has stuck (which it has) it should be noted as an alternate name at the very beginning of the article. Gavin Scott (talk) 15:52, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

The nickname likely came from the popular press because of the Lord of the Rings movie, which was released around that that time. I read one article stating that the discoverers hated the nickname. So I doubt they originated it. --Monado (talk) 03:20, 9 December 2008 (UTC)


The sample seems to be a little over half the height of modern humans, this should mean about 12.5% the body mass. Which would give it twice the brain to body ration of modern man about 4% on the following scale[2].

Species. Brain Weight as % of Body Weight

  • human 2.10
  • bottlenose dolphin 0.94
  • African elephant 0.15
  • killer whale 0.09
  • cow 0.08
  • sperm whale (male) 0.02
  • fin whale 0.01

Which put a bit of a diiferent slant on it all.--Jirate 00:58, 2004 Oct 28 (UTC)

See Brain to body mass ratio and encephalization quotient[3]--Jirate 01:21, 2004 Oct 28 (UTC)

  • Ah. So they'd be elves, not hobbits. -- The Anome 01:46, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Now, who says Hobbits are less intelligent than Men? Less intelligent than Dunedain, sure; certainly much less intelligent than Wizards (who are not Men at all in fact). But just because the Hobbits were the stupidest main characters in LotR doesn't change the fact that well-bred-but-ordinary Hobbits certainly held their own in the company of well-bred-but-ordinary Men (like the stewardic house of Gondor, or the royal house of Rohan, but not the royal house of Gondor which was Dunedain). Sure, Gandalf makes Pippin look foolish often enough, but who's to say you or I wouldn't look twice as foolish in the same circumstances (which is to say, in conversation with an angel)? -- Toby Bartels 02:34, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Nope, as far as intelligence they were neither hobbits or elves. a good graph Since they evolved from homo erectus, I guess that means they actually got less smart, probably because brains require so many calories. --Eean 05:39, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The problem with the graph is it's relating a 1D height to a 3D volume, which would seem to be a mistake.--Jirate 13:33, 2004 Oct 28 (UTC)
Um, its a pretty common graph when you have two sets of data that relate to something else. Like PC Magazine will have one axis be the price and the other axis be the permforance of the computer, so then the closer a computers dot is to one of the corners means the computer has the more bang-for-the-buck. Not hard to understand. This graph is the same idea. More importantly, it clearly shows they didn't a body-mass ratio as high as you thought. I'm sure its talking about height and not mass (or a "3d volume" as opposed to a 2d volume I suppose) since any mass would just be a guess at this point. You decided on their mass based entirely on their height, so I don't see how you could complain. --Eean 15:10, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I wouldn't quote a computer magazine as a good example I made of how to represent numbers. I estimated based on a 50% value to make the maths easier, thats the only "mistake" I made. The real relationship is between one value and the cube of the other as no animal is restricted to just 1 dimension. Inceidentily in 4d maths, 4d objects have 4d volume, a 2d object is known as a surface.--Jirate 19:13, 2004 Oct 31 (UTC)
Why the hell are we talking about 4d math. I guess I should remember Doc, who would say "your not thinking 4th dimensionally." Anyways, I'll take Nature's word for it, that at least based on current evidence (which is to say, we hardly know crap about the brain), H. Floresiensis wasn't that smart compared to erectus and sapien. Which makes sense, given that brains need a bunch of energy, and the theory of why they are short is because they don't have much food. Being smart has a lot of advantages, everything would be smart if it was easy. --Eean 06:16, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)
This graph is a useful illustration of brain mass and height, but that information alone does not indicate anything about intelligence. The encephalization quotient is a ratio of masses only. Dimensions of any sort are completely irrelevant. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 11:29, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Hmm. I thought Encephalization Quotient was now regarded as at best a gross oversimplification. It has these little problems like concluding that the sparrow and mouse (and indeed any very small warm blooded animal) are enormously more intelligent than the primates and cetaceans. At any rate, if you want to take a wild guesstimate of the intelligence of H. floresiensis, absent having yet identified any of their artifacts I would think a more productive approach would be to look for primates with similar statistics. In this case, the brain pan volume turns out to be about 10% larger than the average for the chimpanzee, and the body length very similar (identical within the accuracy of the available data). So with all due caveats about the reliability of this process, from this we might conclude that these hominids would be slightly more intelligent than chimps, but not much. Securiger 15:26, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It is allegedly better to go messure the exit at the base of the skull rather then use body mass, but I can't find any site with that info. CQ is also better but that would require knowing brain anatomy.--Jirate 19:59, 2004 Oct 28 (UTC)
However, chimpanzees range from 40 - 50kg, up to twice as large as H. floresiensis, so this is not a useful comparison. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 14:39, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Here is a link to an article that discusses their toolmaking abilities. [4] It suggests that modern people on the island copied their tools.

There's no need to try to guess the mass of H. floresiensis based on their height; the article states it was around 25kg. Especially given their height is one meter; one need only refer to the healthy body mass index range. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 11:22, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

That's good to know. Do you have any sources to back up your claims that Floresiensis and Erectus were "species that were unlikely to differ in intelligence"? Remember wikipedia isn't a place to do original research (to put it nicely). A good way to end such edit wars is to stick in a reference. --Eean 16:27, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
There is a reference; apparently the Nature article explicitly states the encephalization quotient ranges for H. erectus and H. floresiensis (see below). It is also possible to infer the ratio of the type specimen's EQ to the average EQ of H. erectus, and it is close to 1. In fact, it may be as high as 1.23, suggesting the specimen was above average intelligence. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 16:48, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC) you were citing an article you haven't seen. I'm sure my local library has the Nature in question by now, I should go check it out. --Eean 19:01, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Not to understate the importance of the discovery, but the statement

The discovery is considered to be the most important of its kind in recent memory.

is so vague as to be almost meaningless. Considered by whom? What kind? How recent?

I don't know enough about the big picture in paleoanthropology to put the discoveries in perspective, but I am thinking in particular of the recent discovery of hundreds of fossil speciments of a new homo species (homo antecessor) in Atapuerca, Spain. — Miguel 02:59, 2004 Oct 28 (UTC)

There are two things that make this find bigger than that find:

  • H. antecessor pushes the boundaries of the Homo timeline even better than H. floresiensis does (since H. sapiens still forms the recent limit). But it pushes the boundaries in the less interesting direction (that is, far from us, who are the centre of our unverse).
  • These are frickin' little people, man! They're actually real!!! This is as exciting as the discovery of Troy, only with yet more universal significance. From a scientific perspective, this may only be "very important", but to humankind in general, this will be HUGE.

That said, you're right that this kind of vague claim is meaningless. Somebody should have said this, and that somebody should be cited. -- Toby Bartels 05:31, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I listened to a radio program a few minutes ago (Swedish Radio). This is a quote:
— According to my assessment, this is one of the most sensational scientific discoveries made in the last half-century. No-one could have imagined a finding like this, says Lars Werdelin, senior curator (associate professor) in paleontology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden.
I bet there are people who's opinions matter more in the world of paleontology, but at least it proves that the claim made does have some support. — David Remahl 05:35, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
What with Cassini's Titan encounter it looks like a very important day, John Peel must be pissed of at missing.--Jirate 13:35, 2004 Oct 28 (UTC)
Don't forget the lunar eclipse! :-). — David Remahl 17:08, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The importance of this discovery is that, if H. floresiensis is indeed a new species, it is the first new species of Homo to be discovered since Java Man about 150 years ago. --Monado (talk) 03:24, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Mythical? creatures

"The island had dwarf elephants and giant lizards"

Not only hobbits, but also dragons??? -- Toby Bartels (although I didn't think of it) 05:13, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

And oliphaunts! I just want to congratulate Wikipedia on making such a good article in one day. RickK 06:21, Oct 28, 2004 (UTC)

Miniature elephants are hardly new. Islands often cause large species to become smaller (conserve energy, larger species are better at crossing long distances with less energy, and so must by necessity be smaller on islands. There's not enough space to roam to justify a large body mass. Smaller species have less deadly predators, and are able to grow to larger sizes, among other reasons.) You can find evidence of this on islands all around the world, including more mammoth bones than you can shake a stick at. 21:58, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes! My thought exactly! Compare that to a Google-search. For the record, that link produces zero results at the moment (though there are some Google News references). — David Remahl 06:46, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think the paucity of Google hits is due to the lag time involved in Google recording new pages, and this is a very new news item. RickK 07:30, Oct 28, 2004 (UTC)
Yep..The database is replaced every three or four days or something like that, according to my casual observations. — David Remahl 07:33, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

According to our Flores article, the Komodo dragon can be found on Flores. Are these the giant lizards they are talking about? Can Komodos be dated back to be contemporaries of H. floresiensis? If so, I would imagine Komodos would make a dangerous predator of the poor little fellas. Dragons indeed! Securiger 15:26, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • Komodos are pretty slow and have to bask in the sun, so they are probably pretty easy to evade if you know what you're doing. I read that the Homo flores actually ate the Komodos. RickK 22:40, Oct 28, 2004 (UTC)

Komodos are primarily ambush hunters (and NOT so slow in short bursts!) -- so it would be inevitable that even experienced Hobbinids would have occassionally gotten bushwhacked. So I would expect that this would make them pretty careful, slow, deliberate and observant in their movements. Which would explain their being so hard for even local villagers to run into, even on a middling one-mountain-chain island.
As for who ate whom: I'm sure a Hobbinid -- being a typical pygmy of a relatively resource-poor environment (I would guess the dry season would be the crunch-time here) -- would very much look forward to returning the favor whenever they ran across smaller komodos; and I don't see why a smart, cooperative hunter like H. Floresiensis, living among komodos for millenia, wouldn't have perfected some method of luring and killing even the bigger monitor lizards: having one of their members act as 'bait' -- the others lying in wait in their own ambush, etc...
Pazouzou 06:38, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Some of the articles state that there were other lizards on this island that were even bigger than the Komodo Dragon (and lived at the same time as the "hobbits") but have died out. The articles didn't have a name for this creature does anyone have any information on these? - Anon

  • it was a related species, but somewhat larger (regular Komodo Dragons also lived there)--Pharos 07:43, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Ebu Gogo

I get zero google hits on Ebu Gogo too. It can't be a very widespread piece of myth...Where's the reference for that? I find this in the Telegraph. Can we find an independent source for this (i.e. not related to the article authors)? — David Remahl 07:10, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It will be interesting to see what they find in the DNA from the hair samples. - Anon

  • This is a rather obscure, small and very isolated tribe. I'm not surprised they haven't uploaded their complete mythos to a high bandwidth web server.--Pharos 14:31, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • This is very interesting. It would be nice if we could get some harder data on this. From my reading of the abstracts in Nature, it seems that the claim of extinction 12,000 years ago is based solely on the absence of evidence from one site. Given that, the Ebu Gogo folklore might be considered prima facie evidence for a much more recent extinction (or even continued existence, given the wildness of the Flores interior.) Securiger 15:26, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • The researchers believe that the hominids in the particular site they were studying were wiped out about 12,000 years ago by a local volcanic eruption that also marks the disappearance of other species there. One of the authors has also speculated that is is possible, though "not likely", that surviving hominids of this or similar types might be found on Flores or other Southeast Asian islands.-- 16:58, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There are no Web references to Ebu Gogo prior to the release of the floresensis story, but now there are several. I wonder how reliable they are? See,,, for example. RickK 08:52, Oct 30, 2004 (UTC)

  • As somewhat of a cryptozoology buff, I have been reading about the Ebu Gogo -- and the related beastie, the Orang Pendak -- for well over ten, fifteen years. It's not a recent thing. Drjon 02:55, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I have heard of this too: one of the TV documentaries documenting the discovery and controversy interviewed local peoples and their legends. I distinctly remember this name coming up. So yes you may not find many refs in english but no doubt there are some in indonesian and mentioned in this documentary. The local people do have legends and this is the name I beleive. (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 13:00, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I have heard of this too: one of the TV documentaries documenting the discovery and controversy interviewed local peoples and their legends. I distinctly remember this name coming up. So yes you may not find many refs in english but no doubt there are some in indonesian and mentioned in this documentary. The local people do have legends and this is the name I beleive. Mattjs (talk) 13:03, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

How did the Hobbit reach Flores?

The article says "The isolated position of Flores suggests that the ancestors of H. floresiensis may have reached the island by boat around 100,000 years ago, suggesting a hitherto unsuspected technological capability.".
- But could its ancestors have reached Flores overland when the world sea level was much lower in the Ice Age? Or by sea by chance dispersal on trees uprooted and blown out to sea in a storm?

  • There has always been a deep trench between Flores and neighboring areas which were united by the low sea levels of the ice age.Italic text
  • I agree. Concluding that they came by boat is wild speculation. There are many species on these islands, and obviously most of them did not arrive by boat. Speculating that H. floresiensis were boat builders before even establishing if they were tool makers is drawing a very long bow. However if the date of arrival is correct it would not have been by land-bridge, as 100,000 years ago was the middle of the Eemian interglacial era. OTOH I don't know how firm that age is at this point. Securiger 15:26, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think this Guardian article addresses most concerns. It describes the island as having been an island for a million years. "The implication was that the toolmakers, presumably Homo erectus, were capable of navigating the open sea. It is possible that once marooned on Flores, a population of Homo erectus set its own evolutionary course, morphing into Homo floresiensis." --[[User:OldakQuill|Oldak Quill]] 17:02, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
This article [5] addresses the same issue, citing the discovery on Flores of what are thought to be H. erectus stone tools dating to around 800,000 years ago:
"During the ice ages, sea level was sometimes so low that Java was connected to the Asian mainland. But between Java and Flores lie three straits too deep to have dried out during glacial periods, one of which was more than 15 miles wide. "It's a pretty formidable water crossing," Morwood says. "The vast majority of animals didn't make it." But early humans did." -- ChrisO 17:26, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
It's pretty obvious, generally, what happened, really. I can easily imagine these people looking over the strait at this beckoning new land and thinking constantly about getting over there. New sources of food is always a consideration. I doubt they would have even considered an actual trip, however, without knowing how to cross smaller bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes and maybe trips to nearby islands -- trips measured in yards...
How they actually accomplished it -- who really knows; but only a simple reed/stick/log/bamboo raft really makes any sense. No dugouts, please! And I think a certain point discussed in the articles is being overlooked too: were they small before they got there? The suggestion is that they weren't pygmy-ized until they got themselves isolated -- so we're not talking about "little people" building rafts here -- we're talking about "normal" H. Erectus.
Pazouzou 07:14, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Flores is on the other side of the Wallace line, which is a line which separates Autralian/New Guinean fauna from Asian fauna. The line indicates a significant water barrier unaffected by sea-level change. The line is named after Alfred Russel Wallace and there is more information and a rough map of the line on that WP page.

There are a lot of typhoons in that area, is it possible that they may have been in a tree picking fruit or hiding from a predator and a typhoon picked them up and dumped them in the ocean but closer to the next island. They then swam over to some branches and then paddled or floated to the next island and some of them survived the trip. - Anon

the Hobbit, as we all know, caught the last ship into the West. no mystery there. (*sorry*) dab () 23:14, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Why were they so short?

On the radio I heard that the reason why they were so short, was that isolated populations decrease in size for survival and that lack of food also is an explanation. But I have also heard that inbreed (or homozygoty) causes smaller offspring than outbreed (heterozygoty). Does anyone know?

  • I reckon they just found a child's skeleton. No big deal really. Hobbits, schmobbits I say-- 14:18, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • They found five skeletons, and if they say the most complete is an adult female, thy know what they are talking about. The bones of a child have cartilaginous ends, for instance, to allow for growth. — Miguel 15:52, 2004 Oct 28 (UTC)
  • There was limited food availability on the little island which drove the size reduction, the changes being allowed, but not caused by the isolation of the population. The suture pattern on the skull indicates a 30-year old.--Pharos 14:31, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • It's not a child. Follow the links to the Nature articles. As well as fragmentary parts of seven other individuals, they found a complete skeleton and skull, with adult dentition. (The article also has a picture of the skull, which is really well preserved. It's very human-like, but it's not quite human.) Securiger 15:26, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

In all the papers I have red, they say that there has been an adaption to the food availability. But still, doesn't inbreed normally cause smaller offspring?

    • I don't see a reason why it should, but as I said isolated populations do have a general tendency to develop in unusual ways.-- 16:53, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Here, it is called inbreeding depression, quote from a site about breeding cats: "Robinson (1988) also stated that inbreeding depression may effect almost any feature or characteristic. This could include a decline in birth weight, lethargic kittens and poor growth rates.

Also the size of the tools they found proves that it wasn't a child. The tools were tiny and could not have been made by just one child - Anon

"See also Pygmies"

Why put links to Pygmies, Twa etc. Pygmies are modern humans, and are as unrelated to Flores man as the average European. It's like putting a link to Americans in the Neanderthal article. - Xed 11:08, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps to compare sizes? As the pygmies are the smallest non-pathological adult H. sapiens, yet H. floresiensis is only 2/3 the size. Securiger 15:26, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
OK, I'll put a link to Americans in the Neanderthal article. -Xed 15:32, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

With only one skeleton being discovered, isn't there a possibility that this is an abnoral Flores man (eg a 30 year old dwarf) and that the average Flores man was of much greater height?

Actually 6 have been found. From the skeleton you can usually tell age as various joints fuse as we get older. Atleast accroding to what I've seen on Timeteam--Jirate 14:53, 2004 Oct 28 (UTC)
  • The Pygmies link does make some sense. I was just talking with my professor in a World Prehistory class and he thought, admittedly before he had seen all the evidence, that they might just be a group of very pygmified modern humans with some primitive-looking facial features like brow ridges, which are not uncommon among modern Australian aborigines.-- 16:50, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
It is very unlikely that H. floresiensis is descended from H. sapiens. Their brains are too small. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 12:15, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I think the link is offending - delete it. Will this discovery effect the way we see short persons too - are they more prehistoric or waht???

  • No, I just meant that they might be modern humans, which is my professor's idea. In that case they represent a very extreme dwarfing of Homo Sapiens, like in Pygmies or Andaman Islanders but only more so. Not they they would not be particularly genetically related to Pygmies, only adapted similarly. I don't know if this is an idea others have had, but I wouldn't be surprised if we hear such skepticism of the new species in the coming days and weeks.-- 17:19, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • Note the recently inserted "not". The above comment was made by myself earlier, a newbie who had forgotten to log on. I hope my typo didn't confuse anyone.--Pharos 07:11, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
well, unless your professor is published, wikipedia isn't the place to be inserting his ideas. Regardless, folks are saying that Floresiensis are short due to lack of nutrients on a small island so its not much of an example of convergent evolution either. --Eean 16:35, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The current article says "Pygmy — note that they are members of the Homo sapiens species". Should this important information be put on the article about Belgians as well? - Xed 23:56, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I have to say I thought Xed was trolling or something with what appears to be a complete reversal of position after someone made an edit to satisfy the previous position; but I assumed good faith and tried to work out what the point is. I think - and please correct me if I'm wrong here Xed - that Xed feels that the reference to pygmies is somehow implying that pygmies are subhuman. Of course that is not the intention at all, and the editor who added the "note that they are" comment was perhaps trying to respond to Xed's concerns by clarifying that. But Xed is even more offended now because it should not be necessary to state that pygmies are human. To avoid further confusion, I propose the reference to pygmies be removed from "see also" and made into its own paragraph, so that the inclusion can be fully explained. Something like:

Comparison to small modern humans
H. floresiensis is tiny compared to modern humans. The estimated height for an adult H. floresiensis, at 1 m, is considerably smaller than the normal adult height of the shortest phenotypes of modern humans, such as the pygmies (< 1.5 m), Twa, Semang (1.37 m for adult women), or Andamanese (1.37 m for adult women). They were also considerably shorter than the typical adult height for the most common form of pathological dwarfism, achondroplasia (1.2 m).

only better written. Would that satisfy everyone? Securiger 01:19, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

That's so much better. Though I think pygmies prefer to be called Bayaka (which refers to the group not just by their height), but i'm not sure if that's a term used by all pygmies in all regions, and "pygmy" does seem to be the common term. --Pengo 11:19, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Pygmies are one of several groups of humans (the others that I know of are Eskimoes and Gypsies) that humans in general find natural to classify as a group, while the groups that they themselves identify with are smaller (Bayaka, Inuit, Romany, for example); with the result that the only name for the entire group is imposed by foreigners, generally considered derogatory, and insensitive to the nature of the relevant culture. My advice: Never call anybody "Pygmy", "Eskimo", or "Gypsy" if you know a more specific term that applies to that person. (In live conversation, don't take the risk: ask. But this last bit is only theoretical; I have never met a Pygmy, Eskimo, or Gypsy.) -- Toby Bartels 23:25, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Were they stocky or slender?

Do we know if HEF was stocky (like a hobbit or a modern human dwarf), or slender? I'm not sure how to visualize a 3-foot human. The Singing Badger 17:58, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I wonder if we can have the artist's impression that's been splashed all over the newspapers on here as fair use. This would be helpful for people wanting to visualise our new friends. To answer your question they appear to be quite slender, hairier than us sapiens folk but walking fully upright and not like a chimpanzee, nor a pygmy, nor a dwarf human. — Trilobite (Talk) 22:09, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
If the same artist's impression has appeared in numerous different newspapers, then I'd have thought we could claim fair use - MPF 11:56, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I of course have now put a version of the above in.--Pharos 07:07, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Natural Selection

BBC article stated that when large mammals that originated from a large contintent migrate, or become trapped on a smaller land mass, natural selection favours the small, and the mammals evolve into smaller versions of their ancestors. Should this be mentioned here? (explains small size of Homo floresiensis and the dwarf elephants. Astrotrain 18:51, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

"The artist's impression"

Most so called artist's impressions of prehumans have black skin (I am white myself). How come? Isn't black skin developed from white (i e non-colored)? ANSWER: No! It is the other way around. White people have mutations that inhibit pigement formation. If you live in a place with relatively little sunlight, you can (obviously) be quite happy with such a mutation, in fact it caan help you form vitamin D in your skin. But in a very sunny place (like Africa, where all modern humans came from) lack of skin pigmentation is very deleterious. It is, in fact, a genetic disease. the first Europeans were probably black; their descendants lived through the Ice Age in tiny groups, and loss of skin pigmentation was fixed in the population.

Here's a link that could perhaps be interesting Becoming human, or perhaps better elsewhere. It contains a lot of info about human origin, with lots of artist's impressions too. Unfortunatly it doesn't yet have anything about our hobbit.

Some people believe that the white skin was developed from black skin. Black skin is the natural skin colour that appears on humans in Africa, the mother continent of all humans. Npc 12:08, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The reason I asked was that I was light blond when I was a child, and now I have reddish dark brown hair. Therefore I think the natural development is from non-pigmentation to full. At least from an individual point of view. But still, the proof for evolution, isn't it that embryoes of mammals looks like one another, and that we from there develop in different directions? What says that my european ancestors were black when they left Africa? What if everyone where white, and that the ones who remained adapted to protect the skin from the sun, and became black after that? After all, it is just pigment... There should be more or better prooves for depicing the prehumans as black, aren't there? And hairy? Embryoes and fetuses aren't hairy, and their development are the proof for evolution..?

Dude, read the article on skin colour, especially the paragraphs at the bottom. Human skin is distinguished by its potential to evolve darker or lighter depending on the climate of the area in which a community lives. Even if our earliest, hair-covered ancestors in Africa had pale skin, they would have evolved darker skin once they began to lose their body hair, long before they left Africa. The Singing Badger 18:23, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the link, it was very interesting, but I still doesn't think it makes sense. What says that they were hairy? Aren't worms less developed than scaly snakes or hairy mammals? The way i see it - probobly wrong? - fur has to be developed from naked skin. We aren't developed from monkeys, but instead our ancestors are more closely related than we are to non-mammals - right?

Fur developed from naked skin, but that was millions of years ago. Then humans evolved and the fur lost its evolutionary edge, so now we have less hair. Humans developed from furry mammals, there is little/no controversy about that. — David Remahl 10:59, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

"I was light blond when I was a child, and now I have reddish dark brown hair. Therefore I think the natural development is from non-pigmentation to full." ← this is an example of the theory that Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, i.e. that the development of an organism exactly mirrors the evolutionary development of the species. This theory is wrong. All humans have dark skinned (human) ancestors. If you divide humans into a dozen or so racial groups, using DNA testing to measure relateness (not looks alone), you will find every "race" will have some or all members with dark skin. White skin is the exception, not the rule. Similiarly lactose intolerance is also the normal condition for humans. --Pengo 06:29, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thanks, now I can go on with my studying. (But I never thought that we are decendants from reptiles - I thought our ancestors were more childish but that's another and long story).

Interesting that I've never read this anywhere -- but it's pretty obvious to me that mankind lost its body hair directly as a result of its mastery of fire -- which is also the basis of mankind's spreading out from the tropics (and, away from the warmth of the hearth, the need for hide coverings to replace the lost fur subsequently developed; and the timing makes a whole lot of sense too). For that matter, I also haven't read anywhere something else which makes sense to me: that the taming of fire -- which allowed cooking -- was the direct "cause" of the shrinking prognathism of the jaw and teeth ('cause' in the sense that cooked food immediately removed one hard evolutionary pressure: the need to select for powerful jaws with which to consume hard -- unsoftened, unboiled -- food such as roots, tubers, nuts, etc.). Fire absolutely has had a fundamental, integral and intimate effect on our very biology like no other technique. It is our very measure as a species. Hell -- fire has even gotten H. sapiens sapiens out of the Solar System... Quite the discovery, fire!!
And seeing this small/modern-jawed hominid, I almost immediately think: of course they had fire.
And so it appears.
Another question for me has always been: how quickly and in what manner did H. erectus shed his fur (I'm assuming that H. erectus was always a lot hairer than most modern humans)? And for that matter: I understand that the need for dark skin is directly related to how bare the skin is under direct sunlight/high UV-ray load -- so rhinos, elephants and hominids would converge on the same dark skin-color. But then, why are bonobos and gorillas dark (all of them?), spending their entire lives in forest cover? And why are chimpamzees and orangutans not?
A mystery to me (send in the baboons..!)
Pazouzou 05:44, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Not a dwarf but a microcephalic H.sapiens

I have published the following in "Sunday Mail" (Adelaide, Australia) on 31 October 2004, p 91 and I stand by it. The "other 5-7 individuals" talked about are just small fragments of bone and some teeth that do not allow firm conclusions about their brain size or exact stature, beyond saying that bodies were rather small which is fairly normal for many tropical zone people like pygmies. Andamanese etc.


Three days ago the world was stunned by the announcement of a discovery of a new species of humans who survived until, perhaps, historical times. A skeleton of diminutive person was unearthed in Liang Bua limestone cave on the Indonesian island Flores by an Indonesian-Australian team of scientists. In the same cave were found small fragments of skeletons of a few other humans, sophisticated stone tools and bones of animals that were apparently hunted and eaten by inhabitants of the cave. Occupation of the cave extended from over 38 thousand years (ka) ago to 13 ka. During that time surrounding islands and Australia were already settled by people looking like modern humans. The discovery has been made by researchers of excellent professional reputation and published in the leading scientific journal “Nature”. The skeleton belonged to an adult of short stature, around 105 cm, that is equal to that of shortest women among modern pygmies. The most astounding feature, however, is the size of its braincase- mere 380 mililitres (= a stubby bottle of beer’s volume), less than half of the size of the smallest brains of intellectually normal modern people, and clearly below the minimum for even the oldest humans who lived 1-2 million years ago. The face attached to this tiny braincase, however, fits comfortably within normal human size range. This discovery shatters many long-cherished theories: brain size can no longer be seen as indicative of the level of intelligence, vastly different human species co-existed until very recent times, fairy tales of hobbits, elfs, gnomes and the like become true. It is so amazing that many scholars from around the globe are uncomfortably grappling with its consequences, while others wholeheartedly embrace it. It is not the first time that a breaktrough in our understanding of human evolution was caused by a single discovery. When the first Neandertal was unearthed in mid-19th century, leading scientists became deeply divided: some accepted the discovery while others tried to dismiss it as a modern skeleton that was severely altered by diseases. Today we know that it was a genuine early human skeleton. On the other hand, a discovery of the Piltdown man in the early 20th century turned out to be a fraud inadvertently accepted as genuine by many reputable scholars. Hence the discovery in Flores needs to be carefully examined. Last Thursday, when I read reports in “Nature” I started going through all I learned from studying human evolution for 32 years and from describing and measuring thousands of skeletons excavated by archaeologists in Europe, America, Africa and Australia. The Liang Bua skeleton did not fit comfortably into my experience: small, but still not really dwarfed, stature, normal face and abnormally small brain – a strange combination at any stage of human evolution. I obtained from the “Nature” website measurements of the Liang Bua skeleton meticulously published there by discoverers. Dimensions of the face, nose and jaws were not significantly different from those of modern humans, but the measurements of the braincase fell a long way below the normal range. The bell rang in my head. I remembered reading a report of a 4 ka old (Minoan period) skull from Crete. This skull has been identified as that of an individual with a growth anomaly called microcephaly (=small brain). This well known condition has multiple causes and affects individuals to a varying degree. Its most severe congenital form (primordial microcephalic dwarfism – PMD) leads to death in childhood. Milder forms of microcephaly allow its sufferers to survive to adulthood though they cause some level of mental retardation. My statistical comparison of 15 head and face dimensions of the Liang Bua specimen with those of the Minoan microcephalic shows that there is not a single significant difference between the two skulls though one is reputedly that of the “new species of humans”, the other a member of sophisticated culture that preceded classical Greek civilisation. Deeper down in the Liang Bua cave a forearm bone, radius, was discovered. Its reported length 210 mm corresponds to stature of 151-162 cm depending on method of reconstruction. This is a stature of many modern women, and some modern men, by no means of a “dwarf”. Thus, until more skeletons of the purported “new species” are discovered, I will maintain that a well known pathological condition was responsible for the peculiar appearance of the skeleton so aptly described in “Nature” and that we are still a single rational species.

(Prof) Maciej Henneberg Head, Department of Anatomical Sciences, Medical School, University of Adelaide

Including "others tried to dismiss [the Neanderthal] as a modern skeleton that was severely altered by diseases" in your article may be an unfortunate decision. Is that not your claim about the H. floresiensis skeleton? --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 14:31, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"While there are stone tools dated as far back as 840,000 years ago, no fossils of large-bodied ancestors have ever been found" on Flores, Brown said. "There is some possibility [Homo floresiensis] arrived on the island small-bodied." [6]

-- Peter Brown

It would seem awfully unlikely. We don't find a whole lot of skulls from 12,000 years, whats the chance that the one we do find has a genetic problem. Basically your saying that among a group of skeletons shorter then what had previously been found (I'll buy that thats not a sign of a new species) we get screwed by also finding the only skull from a freak. Wikipedia should report on any controversy as it gets into scientific lit, which I'm sure we'll see some of. --Eean 16:52, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Aren't all conclusions in the field paleoanthropology a kind of induction_(philosophy)?

Yes, exactly. I hope the 'Sunday Mail' is some sort of Australian New York Post, I'm doubt they would print such raw speculation in any credible US paper. --Eean 18:57, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Scientists who publish their findings in newspapers usually do so because the findings are not strong to pass scrutiny by other knowledgable scientists (as opposed to the lay people who edit newspapers). Henneberg's view that he has refuted a carefully reviewed paper is absurd.

My problem with the microcephaly theory is this: There are multiple skeletons and bones recovered in the cave dated from ~12,000 to 90,000 years old. The skeletons range from adolescent to ~30yo adult. Microcephaly frequently brings with it mental retardation, quadrapeligia, impaired motor activity, and many other physical problems. it is normally a severe to moderate disability. It seems very unlikely that a family with history of such potentially serious medical complications would survive and flourish in a harsh jungle for 4000 generations. Since Homo floresiensis doesn't appear to have claws or fangs, or a prehensile tail, or be able to climb trees better than modern humans, it stands to reason that they had to make tools and use cooperative hunting to survive. The evidence of tools and slaughtered animals in the cave seems to support this. The idea of Flores man having microcephaly seems to violate basic Darwinian principles. Also, they haven't found any "normal" h.sapiens bones in the cave, so this would appear to be a prehistoric leper colony of some sort? It just doesn't seem plausible.

Modern phrenology

I see phrenology is alive and well in paleoanthropology, judging by the incredulity expressed about the possibility of H. floresiensis having intelligence. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 11:13, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Is the correlation of brain size across species with intelligence phrenology? For the record, the Nature article gives the EQ of H. floresiensis type specimen as 2.5-4.6 (probably on the higher side if one assumes lean body mass), H. sapiens as 5.8-8.1, H. erectus/ergaster as 3.3-4.4, H. Habilis 3.6-4.3. So, there is certainly no higher EQ among this group than erectus. But perhaps it would be better to say they are comparable, especially if we assume lean bodies (b/c of tropical environment). Also note the EQ is way below modern humans, whose technology they are supposed to be using. While relative brain size is quite significant, I think most would agree that absolute brain size is also of some importance. Although the importance of absolute versus relative brain size can sometimes be exxagerated, I think it would be a gross exxageration to call this "phrenology".--Pharos 12:40, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Oh, real values! Very interesting. However, the EQ of the type specimen can be calculated exactly; it is 1.23 times larger than the average EQ of H. erectus (brain has shrunk by 2.59 times, body has shrunk by 3.17). Note that this value corresponds to the top of the given range, which must represent all available samples, not just the type specimen. (How can a single sample have a range of EQ values?)
Since the average EQ of H. floresiensis (3.55) is comparable to that of H. erectus (3.85), there is no support for any idea that it might lack intelligence. Its tool use demonstrates it did not; the article should neither express surprise nor suggest that it had a level of intelligence different from H. erectus.
Especially, the article must not in any way make the suggestion that brain size alone determines intelligence. This is what my use of phrenology refers to. That is a bogus, misleading claim which persists in the public imagination despite better knowledge; the sooner it is eradicated, the better.
By the way, it's rude to make a blanket revert without attempting to incorporate new information, and it's confusing why you would do so despite your admission that the EQs of H. floresiensis and H. erectus are comparable. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 14:04, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Forgive me if my revert was considered rude; I am a relative newbie and had never reverted anything before. As to the confusion over the similarity of EQ of H. floresiensis and H. erectus, you must forgive me that, at that instant I remembered the exact numbers slightly wrong. The uncertainty in the EQ value for the type specimen is due to the uncertainty in the estimated mass. The great surprise is not that the tool set was comparable to that of H. erectus, the tool set discovered is comparable to that of H. Sapiens, modern humans.--Pharos 14:58, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I see. Pity I can't read the article myself. The range would be easier to accept for an individual if it was narrower; it suggests that at least one of the endpoints must represent an extremely underweight or extremely overweight subject. A reasonable range for body mass ought be near 20 - 25kg.
I hope the researchers are able to find evidence of a widespread culture. The species' tool complexity is very intriguing. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 16:30, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Would the culture of this species be Florestan?

  • They be seem to tend to name these artifact patterns after the site of first discovery. I suspect this be would called the "Liang Buan" culture, after the cave. Not that it matters much anyway.--Pharos 10:15, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Austrolomelanesid or Australomelanesid?

Teuku Jacob is quoted saying Austrolomelanesid. Did he really say that or did he say Australomelanesid? Nurg 23:56, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Google yielded as a non-wikipedia source for Austrolomelanesid.
I still find it hard to believe he wasn't misquoted. "Australo-" means southern. What does "austrolo-" mean? Nurg 06:04, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Did they live in the 1700's?

I jst saw an article on the norwegian newspaper VG's website that some scientists beleve homo florensis lived up to the 1700's. It also states that the local folks on the island says that they have seen small people in the jungle that resebles homo florensis. I didnt find any article about this on or
Pyramide 12:09, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

There are the legends, sure, that they lived all the way to when the Dutch came (I have no idea when that is). This theory is quite probable. Check out Henry Gee's article, it will say. [7]

External links removal

Hello. Please check this edit. It is about the removal of an external link to my site that I first inserted in October. I insert only links that I truly believe are informational and I have no interest to insert any bogus links. I truly believe that my report is informational. Please explain why it was considered inappropriate and give me link to external links policies that you may have. NSK 03:51, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I'm not the one who removed it this time (I did remove it during a cleanup back in Nov. or Dec?). It seems that the info provided on your site is very limited and adds virtually nothing to the article - it is redundant info. Now, as for spam - it probably doesn't qualify unless you have added links to your site to several other articles in an effort to gain free advertizing. Don't know about that without checking your contribs. OK - just took a quik look at your contrib list and it does look suspicious. But, that said, the fact that you insist on posting a link to your own site with no real additional info suggests that you are trying to get that free exposure. Because you inserted the link it appears bogus to me and I support the user who deleted the link. Vsmith 04:47, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Hi. Thank you for responding. If you think my report should contain more information you are free to post a comment and tell me what you think is missing. I have no problem if you believe that my report is inappropriate because it has little info, but I disagree that it is spam. My intention is not to post bogus links. To show you that I really don't want to post spam, I promise you that I will ask for permission before posting any more links to my site. I only insert links that I truly believe to be informational and beneficial to the reader. Adam Bishop also removed from FSFE other links that I have included in my stories at Slashdot: See [8] and [9]. found my report on FSFE useful and published it, but when I included these links (pointing to my reports at Wikinerds) they were removed by Adam Bishop. I really would like to know whether there is any official policy that I can read on this matter. Please note that I don't want to spam Wikipedia and actually I have started re-licensing some of my CC articles and posting them under GFDL on Wikipedia, see for example Zsync. NSK 05:17, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The links were right to be removed. NSK clearly has an agenda here, and I suggest that he/she reads Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not with regards to advertising and self-promotion. It's bad enough when someone comes along and blankets articles with links to a particular website. On top of that, I've actually looked at a few of the "reports", and they just contain the same information that the Wikipedia articles contain, except a lot less (see the "report" linked in this article, for instance, and compare it to the WP article). Then on top of that, you're posting links to your own site. That's three strikes. If you (NSK) want to contribute, just add information directly to the article instead of inserting a link to your website that contains redundant info with respect to the article here. CryptoDerk 07:10, Jan 12, 2005 (UTC)

Though I will not give any opinion on whether this link is interesting to be cited or not, I gave my opinion on NSK as a contributor here : I do not follow your contributions on en NSK, however, I do follow your contributions on the ml, and I think you need to be lighter on references to your website. Thanks.SweetLittleFluffyThing 07:26, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I've removed two more links, but the link only because it didn't work.
Generally speaking, I don't see the use of providing links to articles, which don't provide more informations than our article. And even more, they actually harm the reader, as he may stop clicking on the external links after having foud x links which were unhelpfull.
Blogs, portals, and web discussion boards aren't encyclopedic, with very, very few exceptions. So they can be deleted at sight.
The article now has nine in-line external links, which should be checked as well. I'm undecided about the two in some Indonesian language. They don't provide much insight for a non-speaker but seem to be important references for an important POV.
Pjacobi 10:37, 2005 Jan 13 (UTC)

Added a link to the lateline video with Richard Roberts. Does anyone have more multimedia links?-- 11:19, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

New user edit

This is indeed a swell article. Very impressive job, especially by comparison with other human evolution articles. However, material under the subheds Reaction and Access Controversy is just plain wrong. Perhaps publicity about the find made the Australian scientists appear too prominent, but it is simply not true that no Indonesian scientists were given credit. The main Nature paper (Brown et al) had seven (7) authors; FIVE of them are Indonesians based at the Indonesian Center for Archaeology in Jakarta. One is Thomas Sutikna, leader of the team that made the find. The senior author is Rokus Awe Due, who examined the type specimen's teeth and found that they were very worn, indicating that the bones were not those of a child (as the team had originally thought.) The second paper (Morwood et al), on the dating, has 14 authors (!). Eight are indeed Australians, but 3 are Indonesians, and the others are from Canada, the Netherlands, and Scotland--reflecting the reality that paleontological dating is a worldwide enterprise. Jacob says the naming was done without Indonesian consent, but we have only his word for that. The Indonesian scientists actually involved in the dig have not commented either way. The simplest way to deal with these errors is simply to cut the editorializing. I haven't attempted that because I'm a wiki newbie and haven't a clue how. -- tamtammy 00:52, 21 Jan 2005

Moved to end and cleaned up other minor edit glitches by -Vsmith 02:08, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

"Case characteristics"

We've read alot of summaries of the article first published by Nature (magazine) but this is still a pretty thin case, philosophically speaking. We've also read critics and creationist-responds. But what _do_ we lack? Data. I haven't done my proper "research" on the web yet, because there are way too many "bogus" or "infoless" pages still out there regarding the case, but I really get the conspiracy-vibe due to the restrains on info. Of course, the same thing happened with the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). So, does anyone know when more substantial research might be published? - 10:45, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Update on Bones

The bones have still not been returned as of February 12th, 2005; it would appear the Indonesian has reneged on returning them. I updated the article accordingly. Titanium Dragon 06:44, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Good news! It seems that the bones are slowly comming back! I just read on the BBC[10] site. There was a link to this at the bottom of the article, but it keeps disapearing and reapearing! I'm kinda new but that seems very weird.-- 04:42, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Missing information

This article neclects to state:

  • when the first discovery took place
  • how we know that the specimen is female and that she died at age 30

Timwi 15:05, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Theological/religious reactions?

Have there been any public statements on this find from any theological or religious bodies, particularly those who believe in creationism? I think their statements would be interesting... --Jfruh 23:36, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I don't see why creationists or any other religious entities would have any special views on Homo floresiensis separate from their views on, say, Neanderthals or Homo erectus. Nik42 01:09, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
According to creationists, all hominid fossils are either deformed/diseased individuals or fakes (they love Piltdown Man). This is known as pathological skepticism and is essentially psychological denial. Obviously, they are delighted by the controversy around H. Floresensis and enthusiastically side with those who think it's not a new species. Of course, whether H. Floresensis is a new species or not, is irrelevant to the veracity of Evolution.--Oscar Bravo 10:22, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

First determined to be a new species

Article says "The fossil was first determined to be that of a new species in March of 2005." Wasn't the species described in 2004? Am I misunderstanding the process of "determining a species"? Nurg 06:10, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

from the article:"Homo erectus, thought to be the immediate ancestor of H. floresiensis, was approximately the same size as another descendant species, modern humans."
ok, I don't get it. What exactly is the relation of Homines erecti, florienses and sapientes? It was my understanding that sapiens is not descended from erectus, but that erectus was a species contemporary to early sapiens. Now, is florienses descended from erectus, does that make it a subspecies of erectus, and is sapiens descended from erectus or not? dab () 20:40, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • That's my line. Homo sapiens was an offshoot of Homo erectus, but H. erectus didn't just die off after that. H. floresiensis is also descended from H. erectus. It's not a subspecies, but very much its own species.--Pharos 21:00, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
"Described" is a specific scientific procedure in which various (often bone) measurements are taken from various individual specimens, locations are recorded, etc. When this data is compared to data from other species and subspecies, then it can be determined if the newly described entity is a new species, a subspecies, or that it should be placed within a given species or subspecies. So H. floresiensis was described in 2004, but was given species status in March of 2005. (One might say, "My new home was built in 2004. I moved into my new home in March 2005." However, prehaps it wasn't "my" new home in 2004 when it was built... because I hadn't bought it yet.) - UtherSRG (talk) 20:14, September 6, 2005 (UTC)
  • The description/publication of the species was the October 2004 paper in Nature. The March 2005 paper about the brain may have convinced some of the unconvinced, but it did not have a special status as a "determination" (not a technical term I don't think) that the finds were a new species. --Cam 14:32, September 7, 2005 (UTC)


The article says, "It is thought to have been contemporaneous with modern humans (Homo sapiens) on the Indonesian island of Flores." That suggests it lived on Flores at the same time modern humans lived on Flores. Is that what's intended? If so, isn't that too controversial to be worded like that? On the Ebu Gogo page it says the first evidence of modern humans is 11,000 years ago, and H. floresiensis might have gone extinct 12,000 years ago. --Allen 03:30, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

The article on Humans says 200,000 years ago. TomDS 22:34, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
No, I was talking about when modern humans got to Flores, not when they evolved. --Allen 04:26, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

If I recall correctly, H. sapiens and H. floresiensis were sharing the island for 30,000 to 45,000 years. --Monado (talk) 03:34, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Books on the subject?

Are there any books, as of yet, on the subject of Homo Floresiensis? I am doing a project work on the possibility in the survival of other homo species until this day, and it would be nice with some other sources than just the Internet as for H. Floresiensis. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 00:06, 6 February 2006 (UTC).

I have just written a book that uses Homo floresiensis as one example, among several others, of how island dwarfs can be generated via a simple hormonal mechanism. The book is called, Rhythms of Life: Thyroid Hormone and the Origin of Species, by Susan J. Crockford. See or The book describes an utterly scientific and fully testable new theory for evolutionary change (including domestication), based on my Ph.D. dissertation but put into simpler language for a wider audience. I also discuss the tranformation of wolves to dogs, brown bears to polar bears, and the evolution of the entire human lineage. It's a revolutionary new concept that has the enthusiastic support of many scientific colleagues worldwide: it doens't violate any basic Darwinian principles, it simply provides a mechanism to explain how speciation actually works, something that no one else has done yet. The table of contents and prologue are available for viewing on both sites listed above. See what you think. The preceding unsigned comment was added by RhythmsofLife (talk • contribs) 16:23, 11 March 2006 (UTC).


I thought perhaps the 'Reaction' section somewhat understates the impact of the rather heated discussion within the scientific community. I'd think that a general 'Controversy' section, with a sub-heading regarding access to the original skeleton, would be more appropriate. 05:11, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

A Report in Science disputes finding a new species

This should be added in.

Here is the link.,10117,19187869-2,00.html

I should have added the link to the reference, sorry. WayeMason 12:50, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

According to a press release from Penn State today (8/21/06), their conclusion is that "The skeletal remains found in a cave on the island of Flores, Indonesia, reported in 2004, do not represent a new species as then claimed but are some of the ancestors of modern human pygmies who live on the island today, according to an international scientific team." Anastasi 23:20, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Microencephaly is Micrencephaly?

Wikipedia has an entry for Micrencephaly, which sounds the same as Microencephaly refered to in the article. Can anyone confirm this? GameKeeper 19:43, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Just to make it more confusing there is also Microcephaly (no -en-) is this related? GameKeeper 19:49, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
They say that, instead, it appears to be a modern human suffering from microencephaly, a genetic disorder that results in small brain size and other defects. Other researchers also have proposed this explanation.
Source: FOX News - 16:46 07 June 2006 (UTC)
Microcephaly is the only Wikipedia article (now; I'm not sure about two years ago). Micrencephaly and Microencephaly redirect there, and the page makes no mention of either name, so I assume they are misspellings. However, I'll leave them up in the article until somebody can confirm that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:10, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Locator map Flores islands

I had a hard time finding the islands in the map because I'm colorblind and probably other people too. It would be nice if this could be changed (e.g. so yellow or some other color). Thanks! -- Rune Welsh | ταλκ 11:29, 10 October 2006 (UTC)


I don't know if it is possible to report this guy for being an intellectual bully, but I would like to do so. If all the evidence points to Homo floresiensis not being a new species, why put up such a fight? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

From looking at the edit history of the article, it looks like you are trying to be the bully. - UtherSRG (talk) 16:52, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't believe that Joel is being bully, but rather that new people are coming to wikipedia, who have never edited here before (check the edit history), and who are trying to push a particular point of view. See WP:NPOV. Joel and I were involved in keeping this article as a featured article several months ago, and as you will see there, one of the biggest complaints about the article was that it was too pro-species, given the state of the current scientific controversy. As you will see, if you read the discussion there, other experienced editors came to the conclusion that our edits did a great deal to make the article neutral, and that it deserved to stay a featured article, as an example of the best that wikipedia has. If there are new articles that have come out since we did our work on the article, please point us to them, and we will gladly work with you to incorportate new data into the article. If not, stop trying to push particular point of view on wikipedia. As a side note, I think that both of you ( and HREaton, assuming you're not the same person) are currently engaged in edit warring and have probably gone beyond the three revert rule. Edhubbard 17:08, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi I just want to my two cents in. First off I'm not a scientist, but the evidence is fairly overwelming and convincing that the initial discoveres of LB1 and Homo floresiensis jumped the gun and that there were indeed diseased pygmies. 1001CaspianNights 29 November 2006 (UTC)

If it's so overwhelming, perhaps you can provide a source? --Saforrest 04:50, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

"It showed that we really could demonstrate with a specimen that [microcephaly] could explain the Hobbit's small brain" - Ann MacLarnon of Roehampton University, UK, has discovered the skull of a microcephalic in the vaults of London's Royal College of Surgeons with a brain that matches that of the Hobbit for size. Personally I think Brown and Morwood are pushing the new species idea because they are pushing some agenda.

Also, this is an interesting website.

This report should be taken into consideration also. This is an actual report posted online recently from Roehampton University in London. It is entitled "Scientists scuttle claims that “Hobbit” fossil is a new hominid".

-- Zappa12 09:01, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Current Expeditions

What is being done currently regarding the extraction of further specimens from Flores and other isolated Islands? Are any other scientists looking for more specimens or any other forms of evidence other than the current 9 individuals and the tools found with them? B. from SEMO150.201.33.67 20:41, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Bias in this article

This is preposterous. "In response, several paleontologists have criticized the findings by claiming that the scientists came to incorrect conclusions about skull structure and mistakenly attributed the height of Homo floresiensis to microencephaly. Almost ALL the articles coming out on this subject are claiming that it is a vocal minority that is sticking with the new species claim. I will continue to furnish evidence in support. DMayer

It's not preposterous. The debate is continuing, and it's clear that the issue is far from resolved. Both sides have exaggerated the certainty of their position. But Dietrich, if you are going to edit the article please try to understand that we need to have grammatical sentences. You tend to edit sections so that they no longer make grammatical sense. You have twice edited this paragraph to delete a reference and produce non-sentences. The first sentence is not a sentence. The second is actually several separate sentences connected by commas:
In 2005, a computer-generated model of the skull of Homo floresiensis. The scan had controversial results, the supporters of the new species claim said that it provided further support that the controversial specimens from Indonesia do indeed represent a new species, to the hobbit skeptics it showed signs of pathology. These results continued to be debated.
Paul B 00:02, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Your edits are becoming increasingly problematic. In this edit [11] you have changed the words of quotation. This is wholly unacceptable. Please desist. Paul B 12:43, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Dietrich, you have deleted a whole referenced section without giving any edit summary, or explanation here. You have answered my queries on your talk page with the following on mine, "I don't know where you are getting alot of this "info" that Homo floresiensis is in fact a new species. First off anything written by Tabitha M. Powledge should be looking at atleast twice. Not a reputable source, in fact a downright distortion of the facts." I have footnoted the information to reputable publications. Tabitha M. Powledge, whoever she may be, does not feature in them, as you could have found out if you had read them. It is increasingly difficult to treat your edits as good faith. Paul B 22:24, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
I have looked up Tabitha M. Powledge (even though I hadn't used or referred to her). She seems to be a respectable science journalist. What is the problem with her? Paul B 01:59, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Possible update

Someone added a link to this story to Hobbit. Clearly, it belongs here instead, but I wasn't sure whether it presents new information or is merely rehashing what's been discussed before. Regular editors of this page can decide whether to add it (and the information contained in the story) or not. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:16, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. It is new. IT's a new study by Dean Falk supporting the conclusions of her 2005 study. Paul B 08:41, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for adding it in so quickly. I just caught this story today in my news scan, and thought that I would come and add it in. Glad to see it's already here, although I may add a sentence or two detailing how Falk argues against the microcephaly account. Edhubbard 15:31, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Misleading picture

That monkey-like illustration by Mieke Roth is severly misleading. This was the most recently extinct human species, and some argue conspesific with modern humans – in other words: very much like modern humans apart from their size. Even Australopithecines bore more resemblance to modern humans than that. That image needs to be removed, preferably to be replaced with a more appropriate one. --Anshelm '77 10:11, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Agreed and removed. - UtherSRG (talk) 13:50, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Not only was it misleading I believe it is wrongly tagged. I doubt the image is free. Joelito (talk) 14:49, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The reconstruction appears to be based on a new theory about the features of Homo floresiensis. The new theory says that it was a quadruped based on the fact that the head of the humerus stands almost straight on top of the humerus itself, instead of twisted and with an angle. That theory is also supported by the long arms, the australopithecus-like hipbones, and the fact that the bones are very symmetrical. Dionyseus 04:04, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

More information about Bergh's theory here. Apparently other scientists think Bergh's theory is silly. Dionyseus 04:51, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

"confirmation of species status"

OK, I don't want a revert war, but I'll just explain why I changed back. I don't think we can reasonably say that species status was confirmed in 2005, but rather that it was expected that the 2005 paper would lead to confirmation (i.e. acceptance by the scientific community), but it did not. Since the controversy is ongoing, I don't think we can say with confidence even now that the species was confirmed in 2005 or that it has been in 2007. As far as I am aware the dissenters have not accepted species status. Of course, if the phrasing is considered to be clumsy, the same point might well be made more elegantly. Paul B 09:39, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry, I didn't notice this comment, or else I would have replied here first without making the compromise in the article. If you wish to re-revert to the original version pending the resolution of any discussion here, then feel free.
I take your point about "acceptance by the scientific community", but I don't think that is the strict definition of confirmation. I would argue that the 2005 paper did confirm the findings of the original proposal in that it was a "corroborative statement or piece of evidence". [12] Of course, the waters were muddied by further analysis, but to say the 2005 paper did not confirm the original findings is somewhat misleading, I feel. I have no agenda to promote the species argument over the microcephaly argument, I just think - as you do - that it could be more elegantly written. I have made a compromise in stating the 2005 paper "supported" the original proposal (thereby avoiding the contested "confirmation" completely). What do you think? Rockpocket 17:42, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
please review this article.

[13] has this "species" entered crypto status? Some thing 23:20, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

This is just another second, or third, or fourth hand report about the counter-arguments from Jacob and Martin that are already included in the article. There's nothing new here. Until there is new data, or at the very least, new analysis of the existing specimens, it's premature to go deciding things in favor of the Jacob/Martin counterarguments. Edhubbard 13:04, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

New Bones Discovered(?)

Were there new bones discovered in the same cave that were identical to the first? I only heard about this Homo floresiensis the other night for the first time, on a documentary I watched - and they said the fact that about seven different sets of bones were found, all with the same skull size, made it incredibly unlikely (virtually impossible) that they were all microcephalics. Maybe I misunderstood, or the documentary was incorrect. --Rathilien 23:56, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Hi Rathilien, Yes the new bones were discovered in the same cave as the first, but not necessarily in the same layers (horizons were from 38kya to 13kya), and not from the same part of the cave. Although bones from nine individuals have now been recovered, many of them are little more than a couple of bones from each individual. That is, no other complete, or largely complete skeletons (as LB1 was) have been recovered. There is only one complete cranium, that of LB1, a single molar (LB2) and parts of seven other individuals. The seven new skeletons are all dimunitive, which definitely suggests that LB1 was not unique in stature. Among the bones recovered as the LB3-LB9 specimens were another jaw bone, further showing that the LB specimens did not have a strong chin, which Brown and colleagues have taken as evidence towards species status; Jacob and colleagues dispute the importance of the lack of a chin. Most importantly, given that there were no complete crania among the subsequent finds, it is not yet possible to rule out the microcephaly claim. Excavations are ongoing, and additional skeletons (most importantly, crania) should help to shed light on these issues. When additional discoveries are made, watch this page! Edhubbard 09:47, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
As far as I can tell it was a complete jawbone, not just a molar, that they found. Though it was the molar that was the identifying characteristic. This was according to the "Human Hobbit" documentary on the Science channel which included an xray of the jawbone. I'm going to change the article to reflect this. -- GIR (talk) 03:14, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

coexistence with humans

I'm removing the following sentence from the article:

Homo floresiensis certainly coexisted for a long time with modern humans, who arrived in the region 35,000–55,000 years ago, but it is unknown how they may have interacted.

I think this must be simply a mistaken deduction by an editor. Humans arrived in the area before 12kya, but not necessarily on Flores itself. I asked about this over a year ago (several headings up) and got no response, though my question may not have been clear enough. If I'm mistaken and someone has a source for this, feel free to replace it. --Allen 04:30, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Ebu Gogo in introduction

I'd like to put forward a motion for briefly mentioning Ebu Gogo in the introduction. It's a legend, but the possibility of a connection has been raised in some reputable publications (e.g. New Scientist). Esn 22:48, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Without evidence, tales of Ebu Gogo are no more reliable than rumours of leprechauns, and should be retained as an interesting footnoote, not important enough to be in the Introduction. --Monado (talk) 21:24, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Something to note

Have there been any criticisms made of how this brain size wouldn't correlate much at all with what would be expected of a branch from h. erectus? H. erectus had a rather moderate brain size, and seeing a new species with a brain size this small, in the span of that branch... Really isn't likely. And where's the DNA studies?

There can be no DNA studies, because there is no DNA to study, as per the existing text in the 'Discovery' section, "It is unlikely that useful DNA specimens exist in the available sample, as DNA degrades rapidly in warm tropical environments, sometimes in as little as a few dozen years."
Your point about brain size is unclear: it is proposed that H floresiensis may have evolved from H erectus (until a demonstrably better idea comes along), not that it is "in the span of that branch", whatever that means. H sapiens also presumably evolved from H erectus; the two presumed evolutions proceeded differently (and in crude brain-size terms oppositely) due to different environmental selection pressures, resulting in different brain (and other) morphologies.
In the latest "out of Africa" models modern humans don't in fact evolve from Homo erectus. Erectus left Africa some 1.5mya, while modern humans have a common ancestor (according to DNA) 200kya from Africa.
When H. erectus "left" Africa, they didn't all physically leave! Rather, the range of that species spread beyond Africa to parts of Eurasia (by virtue of a comparative few leaving and then expanding in numbers over very many generations). Others stayed and, in time, some of them evolved (perhaps through intermediary species) into H. sapiens. (If all the H. erectus had vacated Africa, what would H. sapiens have evolved from?) Such is, anyway, my current understanding: if it's wrong I welcome informed enlightenment. The commonly used expression "left" is, I agree, misleading if taken literally. (NB: please don't insert unsigned comments inside those of others; it makes the discourse difficult to follow.) (talk) 19:03, 8 November 2008 (UTC) [formerly posting from]
Of course, the current 'best-guess' paradigm of hominid evolution is based on sufficiently rare fossil evidence that further significant discoveries may well result in major re-evaluations. That's why I find science so exiting. (talk) 15:36, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

New info?

Didn't see any reference to this new declaration about the wrists :;_ylt=Au3lD9wOqRzSQ3a1v6TEDO2s0NUE

And I didn't add it because I don't really understand it well enough to do so.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:47, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Yeah I have two more:

This link had another recnt link to another contradictory article at the bottom.Mattjs (talk) 13:14, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Some more new info

Apparently some scientists are speculating that they were just humans that lacked iodine. This article talks about it. Murderbike (talk) 17:55, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Scientific journal is a better source, but I'm having no luck tracking it down. WLU (talk) 21:40, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
The article citation, abstract and reference list can be found here (publicly available): Are the small human-like fossils found on Flores human endemic cretins?. I also have the pdf, and can e-mail it you offwiki if you would like. You can e-mail me from my user page. Edhubbard (talk) 21:47, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Naw, no e-mail necessary. If you wanted to do me a favour, you could add the info to the page though... : ) WLU (talk) 21:52, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Done, although I only know as much as you guys; I've only read the BBC story and tracked down the real ref. I will try to read it and add something more substantive in the next few days. The response is only in the BBC story, though. We might want to cite that, but I think that it might border on giving this story undue weight. Edhubbard (talk) 22:02, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for adding that. I don't think there's much reason to add the news story as the reply is pretty weak (though in my opinion very relevant). Eventually I'm sure all the criticisms will be collapsed into a single section anyway. WLU (talk) 22:15, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Iodine deficiency doesn't make much sense - the island of Flores is only about 75km wide, so the inhabitants would have only need to travel for a day or two to the sea, which would have been a source of iodine-rich foods. (How far is the cave site from the coast?) My understanding is that iodine deficiency mainly occurs deep inland in poor soil regions, like central Asia - and that's a very long walk to the sea. (talk) 00:22, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Cretins were often found in the southern Alps around the turn of the 19th century. They weren't necessarily smaller than other humans, nor even less intelligent - they just appeared that way!Red1001802 (talk) 01:01, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Shorten intro

The introductory section is too long and dives into details too early -- in the second sentence! There is even no explanation of technical jargon like "LB1" etc. Those details should be reserved for a later section. The intro should say:

  1. That H. F. is a possible species of Homo with such-and-such significant features
  2. When it lived
  3. That it is controversial whether the remains are from a new species
  4. What are alternative theories

It should say nothing more.

Please correct the intro, or I will soon. -Pgan002 (talk) 09:02, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree with that and I'm guilty as well - I added several statements to the lead rather than below. The entire page could probably do with a read through and re-write to harmonize lead with body. WLU (talk) 16:19, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
True. The dispute for example is basically 2 camps more or less not yielding ground, plus the ugly question of how the specimen incurred damage exacerbates resolution. As study after study was published, they were added to this article piecemeal. A complete copyedit is well in order.
(But make that "H. f. ;-) ) Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 03:01, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Regular, maintenance copy editing needed

While awesome, and evidently brilliantly popular, this article is badly in need of a cleanup. I'm going to do it myself in the next couple of days, and I'll use the lightest touch possible, but please do be careful as you make your edits/additions: Be sure to punctuate appropriately, watch your syntax, etc. One of the reasons this article's so wonderful is that the scientific portions are easy for a layman to understand, and in order to keep it that way we need to watch our edits. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sugarbat (talkcontribs) 04:35, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

African sightings

I have moved the Talk page comment below, written by Red1001802, here, re his addition of statements about sightings in Africa Paul B (talk) 12:23, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't want to get into an edit war with you, but we have a difference of opinion about whether it matters that very similar sightings have been made in Africa, and quite recently. Calling that irrelevant would be like discussing the Bengal tiger and refusing to allow any mention of Siberian tigers. That's not focussing, that's suppressing relevant information. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Red1001802 (talkcontribs)

It's not clear to me why Siberian tigers should be discussed on the "Bengal tiger" page, unless some meaningful point is to made (which I see happens to be the case), in which case anything at all might be mentioned, if it tells us something meaningful and demonstrable about Bengal tigers. The difference is that we have there factual material that it directly linked to the specific topic. Here you have vague stories of little people, who might be mythical, or might be pygmies and who have no demonstrable connection at all to specific physical remains found on Flores. Paul B (talk) 12:35, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Whose opinion is it that these reports represent credible sightings of H. floresiensis? Whose opinion is it that these reports are in any way relevant to this article? Give us a reference that ties these together; otherwise it is a novel synthesis. Hesperian 12:54, 15 May 2008 (UTC)


I made a couple of changes.

  • I removed the taxobox, because it is a disputed taxon, and updated the preview of the Royal Society's paper to give its publication date. I couldn't find anything that cited that paper, but didn't look very hard. I also changed the text in the lead, it is not mentioned in the body, which leaves the following sentence without a reference:
This idea has been dismissed by members of the original discovery team as based on a misinterpretation of the data.
Perhaps it is supported in another reference further down, I skimmed dates and could not see it. cygnis insignis 18:01, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

I was talking to Cygnis about this offline, and the rationale for removing the taxobox, which I agree with, was that the taxobox essentially asserts the validity of the taxon. This is misinformation. Hesperian 06:29, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

I really like the taxobox because it gives a lot of info really quick to the casual reader, but I suppose I can see the point about it being misinformation. The text is just otherwise fairly dense for a casual reader to pull out those relevant facts about the finds. Nowimnthing (talk) 16:17, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Would it be possible to include some sort of disclaimer INSIDE the taxobox? If so, I certainly think that would be the best solution.--Noe (talk) 07:51, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Separate species or microcephalic

It's great to see these two viewpoints brought up -- but do we have to bring them up umpteen times at random spots in the article, each mention citing a different set of sources?

I am tempted to go in and edit the article to put all of this in one section, just listing sources for each camp at the end. But especially with an article this popular, I'm wary of stepping on toes.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stian (talkcontribs) 06:10, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Source of info on Austrolomelanesid race

Is there any source of the information that Jacob considered it a subspecies classified under the Austrolomelanesid race? Thank you. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 20:43, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

It's from an AFP report that was widely circulated at the time (2004) [14]. Paul B (talk) 10:04, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Shouldn't we be citing the original scientific study:
Jacob, T.; Indriati, E., Soejono, R. P., Hsu, K., Frayer, D. W., Eckhardt, R. B., Kuperavage, A. J., Thorne, A. & Henneberg, M. (September 5, 2006). "Pygmoid Australomelanesian Homo sapiens skeletal remains from Liang Bua, Flores: Population affinities and pathological abnormalities". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 103: 13421–13426. doi:10.1073/pnas.0605563103. PMID 16938848.
Which is currently already referred to six times in the article? As the title of the scientific study itself says, "Australomelanesian Homo sapiens". Edhubbard (talk) 14:26, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Is that where the actual quoted words are to be found? They sound rather too informal for a scientific paper, more like comments during an interview. Paul B (talk) 16:13, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Hi Paul, you're right... this is too informal for a scientific article, and a quick search in the pdf doesn't turn up that wording. So, assuming that this is indeed a direct quote, your AFP reference is probably right, and my addition of the original article in that location is wrong (BTW, do you have the AFP article handy? I tried to look it up and couldn't find it online). I was originally responding to the Jan's question, which was for a source. I hadn't realized that your citation was related to a particular quote. I'll revert myself on the addition. Edhubbard (talk) 07:50, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
The quoted words come from the AFP report, which I linked above. It's an agency, so it supplies material that gets published in a variety of places. Paul B (talk) 19:25, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Missing leg bones

The article states that after Jacob returned the fossils, two leg bones were missing on 23 Feb 2005. Are they still missing or has he already returned them as well? If they are missing, is there any explanation what he has done with them? Thank you. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 21:21, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

(copying from FAR talk page) This doesn't seem to have been followed up in the media. In general, the article can only reflect information which is in the public sphere. That is, I can find no place where this has recently been discussed and updated in verifiable reliable sources. To add anything one way or the other, would fall under original research. I've just done a google search to make sure that nothing has escaped my notice, and I don't see anything new out there (please be bold and add it, if recent verifiable, reliable, reports have appeared on this subject). The mere fact that something is not mentioned in the article is not evidence that the article itself is incomplete. It is also possible that the public record, upon which we are required to draw for wikipedia, is incomplete, and we would therefore be unable to do anything else. Edhubbard (talk) 14:49, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Hi Jan, I just found something that is kind of interesting relating to the missing leg bones... It seems that Jacob passed away October 17, 2007. [15]. This may further help to explain the lack of information on this subject, since I am sure that, out of respect for his memory, anyone involved in the bones controversy would be likely to be more discrete, and this raises possibility that the leg bones were simply quietly returned. Actually, there's a lot of good stuff on that page, but most of it is not appropriate for wikipedia, as they use a large number of copyrighted images, etc, etc. Edhubbard (talk) 18:33, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Hi Ed, yes, meanwhile I have also met the info that Jacob died. I also tend to believe that the bones are back. The possibility that nothing was published about their returning seems more probable than the possibility that they are still missing and nobody (including experts) cares. Therefore this incomplete information about not returning some bones does not seem to be so important and maybe we could leave it out. Incomplete info seems worse to me than no info. What do you think? Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 22:42, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I think that's right. Since we can't say anything one way or the other, we probably just have to leave that information incomplete. Perhaps at some point someone will mention something, or publish something, that we can eventually cite about the leg bones. Edhubbard (talk) 00:38, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Andamese Height

Hi all, I'm having a bit of a hard time with getting a reference to the height of the Andamanese. I've looked, and the associated wikipage doesn't list anything. In checking the Brown et al. (2004) Nature article, and the Morwood et al. (2005) Nature article, I see that Morwood et al. did compare the LB specimens with "Andaman Islanders", and include estimates of femur length, humerus length and humerus shaft circumference, so it is clear that the selection of comparison numbers in the text is derived from the Morwood article, and is not entirely random. However, the Morwood article does not cite a simple measure of height, as we have it here. Even checking the history of the Andamanese article, I don't find the height listed there. Given that this was clearly a comparison population in the Morwood article, I would like to keep that in, but since we can't find a reference to the exact height listed, I am tempted to cut it just to avoid having an unreferenced number floating around in there. Oddly, if I do a google search on "Andamanese 1.37 meters" I find that a number of other pages seem to refer to this number, including our own 1 metre page, and a "CRAM Science" page on H. floresiensis [16] but none of them cites a source. In fact, it is possible that they all get this number from this page, and it has been propagated without verification throughout the web. Thoughts? Edhubbard (talk) 18:10, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Aha, success. I found that, Andamese women are, on average 137.2 cm (1.37 m) tall, as cited in a textbook on the Andamanese reprinted on the web here [17]. So, I will make it clear that this refers to females, and add this source. Edhubbard (talk) 18:40, 1 March 2009 (UTC)


Looking at the article now, shouldn't it have a taxobox? --Spotty11222 (talk) 11:01, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

It used to. I don't know what the reasoning was behind deleting it. I'll check the history and find out why it was deleted. Edhubbard (talk) 15:22, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I just checked the history, and it appears that the taxobox was deleted on November 16, 2008, with the edit summary "Remove taxobox, no independent reference to validity of species description" [18]. Perhaps this is a question for others, but does the presence of a taxobox presuppose that the species description is valid? Does the absence of a taxobox presuppose that it is invalid? In this case, since the description *has* been independently supported by other groups (e.g., Dean Falk) but contested by still others, what is the appropriate course of action? Edhubbard (talk) 15:34, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Hi Spotty, after looking around, and talking to some editors, I think, actually, that it's correct not to have the taxobox in this case. The thing is, the presence of a taxobox presupposes that the status (species or not) and classification (e.g., H. floresiensis vs. H. erectus floresiensis or even H. sapiens) are agreed upon. Given that the status of the LB finds is still highly debated, not having the taxobox is one way of making sure that we wikipedians don't decide the debate in advance of the scientific debate being completed. You can see a similar line of reasoning in the archives here. Cheers, Edhubbard (talk) 17:51, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I was just wondering though, if the species is being debated, can't that be included in the taxobox, such as in the Megalodon article(the binomial name is controversial, even though it is now generally accepted as Carcharocles, and not Carcharodon megalodon.) The taxobox provides useful data at a glance, much more than just species information. --Spotty11222 (talk) 21:20, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I think that, unlike in the case of megalodon, where it's just a question of exactly where this species belongs, in this case, the debate is fundamentally over whether this is a new species or not. As such, we'd have to do a lot more than put "disputed H. floresiensis or H. sapiens". If the community were in agreement that this is a new species, and the question was just one of classification, then it might be easier to deal with (as in the case of megalodon) but in this case, the debate runs a lot deeper, and I don't think that this can be summarized a a taxobox... indeed, the mere presence of a taxobox suggests some agreement on this fundamental issue of whether or not the skeletons reflect a species or not! Edhubbard (talk) 21:42, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

EdHubbard is spot on, in my view. The inclusion of a taxobox here will imply that this is a taxon, which would be taking a side in the debate.
The problem with infoboxes is they can force people to summarise information to the point where crucial qualifications are lost, making them misleading and/or just plain wrong. This wouldn't be a problem if we were able to resist the temptation to use them in such situations. But this is not always the case, unfortunately.
Someone once observed to me that infoboxes have become "an imprimatur of legitimacy" on Wikipedia—an article without an infobox cannot be taken seriously. What a silly situation.
Hesperian 22:32, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Other templates

There are a number of potentially misleading summaries of this proposed species, linking to and from this article, {{Homo}} is another example of an 'infobox' using this name. cygnis insignis 17:42, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Hi cygnis. I'm not sure what our options on the other templates might be... In a table like the one you've linked to, would it make sense to just add a star and say "species status debated (see main article)". Might it also be worth discussing this more thoroughly on the Primate Wikiproject page or the Paleontology Wikiproject page? I think that, since H. floresiensis is still the name that most people will look for, it might be better to leave some of these and just add a note. I'm open to other views (e.g., delete it from the table until species status is resolved), but maybe we get other people's thoughts on this too? Cheers, Edhubbard (talk) 21:24, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
My post followed Hesperian's general remarks in the section above; the problems with, and the usage of, the infobox "Homo" should be seen in the light of that view. Making this a new section may help further discussion, but I expect that a wider involvement would be centralized elsewhere. I can see numerous problems with the template, including NPOV and a reliable source, but would prefer that others attempt a solution. The Anthropology Wikiproject and any major contributors should be notified as well. cygnis insignis 05:26, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see... Yes, I agree that this probably touches on much wider issues about templates (and the gravitas they supposedly convey) but I had originally read your comment in the much narrower scope of my current pre-occupation, which is "Are we done with FAR? What needs to be done to close FAR in the near future?". But, yes, this is indeed another example of template problems, and it should definitely be carried over there... I guess a new section on the template talk page might be a good way to get more eyes on it. I'm happy to copy stuff there, or would you like to take the lead? What do you think? Cheers, Edhubbard (talk) 16:00, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
No thanks. With regard to the FAR: {{Human Evolution}}'s listing of H. floresiensis in Humans and Protohumans is also misleading, and it is included at the bottom of this article. cygnis insignis 16:39, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Models and casts

I found some pictures of models or casts of H. floresiensis, like this, this or this. Does anybody know, where the models are and who made them? Would it be possible to get some free license images? Thank you very much. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 23:32, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Hi Jan, Good question. I looked at the three images that you suggested, and the first and the third are the most likely to yield opportunities for us to get free images. Since the first image appeared in Discover magazine, and the third is at the American Natural History Museum (or at least on the website), we can perhaps follow up with Discover, and/or go to the AMNH and just take a picture on our own. I'm in Nashville these days, but if I get back to New York any time soon, I would love to have an excuse to go to the AMNH. Do you want to follow up with Discover? Cheers, Edhubbard (talk) 00:16, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Hello Ed, I have sent some questions about the origin of the model to the magazine and I'll wait for their answer. It would be great if you could take the pictures at the AMNH. Thank you very much. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 21:53, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
There is no freedom of panorama in the US, so a photo of a sculpture would not be able to have a free license. You would have to upload it with a fair use rationale, which means that you could just as well upload the pictures you linked to themselves. FunkMonk (talk) 22:25, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks FunkMonk. I hadn't known about this, but after seeing your comment, I went and looked it up here Wikipedia:Freedom of panorama and here Commons:Freedom_of_panorama. The relevant passage, from the commons page is: "For artworks, even if permanently installed in public places, the U.S. copyright law has no similar exception, and any publication of an image of a copyrighted artwork thus is subject to the approval of the copyright holder of the artwork. However, public artwork installed before 1923 is considered to be public domain, and can be photographed freely." Thus, it does appear that the mere fact that I've taken a picture of the sculpture does not allow us to use it on wikipedia. The fair use rationale would require a low-resolution version of the image, and there is thus no advantage to me going and taking another picture of H. floresiensis' at the AMNH. Jan, let's see what we can do to get permission for at least one of these images... I seem to remember that someone else had included one of these images before, but that it was removed... I don't remember if copyright was the rationale or not. Edhubbard (talk)
Hey Funk, I just realized that you uploaded the image of the skull from the AMNH from flicker. Is the skull excepted from the "statue" rule because it's not a work of art, but rather a pre-historic specimen? Thanks, Edhubbard (talk) 23:30, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Does it mean that if I want to use the pictures, I need to get the permission of both the copyright owner of the photograph and the copyright owner of the statue? Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 23:39, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I'm not sure Jan... perhaps FunkMonk knows the rules better than I do. I *think* (almost no better than a guess) that if we go with the "fair Use" rationale might be ok for the picture and accordingly, for the sculpture. Let's keep trying and see what we can learn, and what the picture takers say. Cheers, Edhubbard (talk) 23:47, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

I have also looked at the WP:Freedom of Panorama and there is written: "You are encouraged to upload freely licensed photographs taken under freedom of panorama to Wikimedia Commons rather than to the English Wikipedia. Not only will this make your freely licensed photograph available to a wider scale of people on Wikipedias in multiple languages, but on Commons they have more experience dealing with freedom of panorama issues." I do not know, whether this would enable us to use your images from AMNH on English Wikipedia, but I have also translated the article for Czech Wikipedia and I would be very happy if I could use the photos at least there. And there are also other language versions of this article, where the picture could be used. On the other hand, neither Commons, nor Czech and many other Wikipedias accept fair use images. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 23:55, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Yep, a permission from both the photographer and the artist would be needed. And as for the cast, it is an exact duplicate of an actual specimen, so as far as I know, there is no original artwork involved, no intellectual property, so it is not copyrightable. FunkMonk (talk) 00:00, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Hi Jan, I think what counts is not what country the image will appear in, but rather the country in which the artifact/sculpture/building is located in when the picture was taken. When talking about the English wikipedia, they point out that uploaders should note what country the picture was taken in, so that the appropriate FOP rules can be applied. So, if the casts and models were to go outside the U.S. we might be able to use different FOP rules to get a picture of them. For the English wikipedia, it seems like Fair Use might be the only way to go. FunkMonk seems to know these rules better than me, so if I'm wrong about this, hopefully he'll slap me down. Edhubbard (talk) 00:21, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I see, thanks. Meanwhile, I found this picture on Flickr. Is there any special procedure to follow if I want to upload it? Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 00:26, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Ed is right, and as for the other Flickr image, look under "Additional Information", it says "All rights reserved", so we wouldn't be allowed to use it. It's up to the individual Flickr user to pick a certain license for his picture, so they're not all free. But Flickr users are known to be kind when it comes to changing the licenses of their images, so maybe someone should try to contact the user about it? So far, the only two floresiensis related pictures with suitable licenses on Flickr are already used in the article: [19] FunkMonk (talk) 00:44, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I see. Thanks to both of you for information. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 06:57, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Arm twisting

In Homo floresiensis#Additional features, my eye was caught by the unlinked term "twist" in the context

the relatively low twist of the arm bones

in 1st sent of 1st 'graph. The respective diagrams at Radial sulcus and Intertubercular sulcus suggest that on the left humerus both of these "grooves" have roughly a right-hand helical shape (i.e., motion along them appears clockwise to a viewer being approached by that motion). (And -- at least one desperately hopes! -- left-hand and counter-clockwise on the right one.) Is this the "twist" in question? Should we link "twist of the arm bones" to humerus, in a new section discussing the twist's and/or the sulci's anatomical significance?
Is there also a corresponding lower twist to the forearm bones radius and ulna, or does "arm bones" truly mean left and right humeri, as the existing link suggests?
--Jerzyt 06:01, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

27 Apr 2009 New York Times article

There is a new article published 27 April 2009 in the New York Times that is not yet used as a source in the WP article. The URL is [20]. I'll leave it to others to explore the article and integrate useful information, if any. N2e (talk) 02:02, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

There was also an episode of Nova (TV series) recently. See Tschravic (talk) 00:59, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Nature Vol 459 / 7 May 2009

The May 7th 2009 issue of Nature_(journal) covers new research into H. florensiensis foot structure that not only strengthens the separate species argument but raises questions about the overall development of the Homo_(genus), with the common ancestor of H. floresiensis and H. sapiens perhaps going back farther than Homo_erectus. See Palaeoanthropology: Homo floresiensis from head to toe including speculative family tree diagram, The Flores bones: primitive hominin retentions or insular dwarfing?, The foot of Homo floresiensis, and Insular dwarfism in hippos and a model for brain size reduction in Homo floresiensis. --Anonymous 19:12, 6 May 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Indonesian sightings

Map (Hermann Moll, before 1726)

"Documented" sightings on two Indonesia islands around 1726:

Enjoy NevilleDNZ (talk)

It's from Gulievers Travels

the quote is from - which isn't factual! (sorry!)

Profjack (talk) 13:40, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Evidence for microcephaly

Let me first say I have no opinion on this matter either way, as it is still far too early in my opinion to draw any definitive conclusions from the outcomes of a number of conflicting studies. However, when reading the article, I was curious as to what evidence has been offered by the mentioned studies which argued in favor of microcephaly for such a hypothesis. If there's a section detailing evidence against, should there not be a section detailing evidence for the microcephaly hypothesis? —divus 03:28, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

I guess the burden of proof lies with those who claim the findngs represent a new species, rather than with those suggesting they may represent members of a well-known species suffering from a well known disease.--Noe (talk) 15:27, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Undue weight

Every time I hear of these fossils, they are presented as a new species with the sceptics as a minority position. Is it really in agreement with WP:UNDUE that it is called a "possible" species in the introduction?--Berig (talk) 07:11, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

As long as there is still an active scientific debate about the status of these fossils, we here on wikipedia cannot "decide" the issue and state categorically that this is a new species. Trying to decide when something is "undue" weight is, of course, a subjective decision, but the consensus here so far has been to retain some marker that there is still a scientific debate ongoing. Normally, undue applies to truly fringe positions; the debate of H. floresiensis is still occurring within the standard scientific channels. Remember, science is done by weight of evidence, not by popular vote. It is possible for the majority to be wrong. See my longer comment below about the growing consensus, and the work that we will need to do to try to update and integrate this new information into the article. Edhubbard (talk) 14:38, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Lots of new info out there

It appears that we need to start thinking about a pretty massive update on this article, as there has just been a raft of articles published on our friend H. floresiensis. There are the Nature articles mentioned in one of the posts above. In addition, there is an entire special issue of the Journal of Human Evolution dedicated to H. floresiensis that will appear shortly (the articles are online with access through most universities). Finally, there are two articles related to H. floresiensis that have appeared in PNAS since the beginning of 2009. Altogether, there are at least 16 new articles that have appeared within the past two to three months! Right now, I have a ton of "real life" work to do, so I cannot read and integrate this new information into the article, but anyone who would like to get copies of the articles can e-mail me off-wiki, and I will send you the pdfs. On a related note, in a commentary on the recent spate of publications, a long-time fence-sitter in the species debate, Daniel Lieberman of the Harvard Department of Anthropology says this:

"Good science requires a healthy dose of tempered scepticism — at its heart, the process involves trying to reject proposed hypotheses. So it was understandable that the announcement in 2004 of the discovery of a species of dwarfed hominin, Homo floresiensis, from the island of Flores, Indonesia, stimulated a range of opinions, many of them sceptical, that the fossils constituted a new species and were not the consequence of some pathological condition.
Two papers in this issue, by Jungers and colleagues and by Weston and Lister, together with contributions to a special online issue of the Journal of Human Evolution, will go a long way towards addressing the sceptics’ concerns. The studies provide considerable evidence — literally from head to toe — that H. floresiensis is a true species of hominin (that is, a species more closely related to humans than to chimpanzees and other apes). More importantly, the analyses prompt hypotheses about the human family tree that will require more fossil evidence to test."

Now, of course, Lieberman does not speak for the entire scientific community. Although his sense that the accumulated evidence is now compelling may be shared by many others, I am sure that there will still be those who remain unconvinced. However, Lieberman's commentary may speak to a growing consensus in the field. I am sure this is why we are seeing a spike in the number of people editing the page to say that the matter is decided, as some people read on news sites something about Lieberman's commentary, and following journalistic practice assume that the scientist speaking speaks for all scientists. Let me admit my own bias here (which I have mentioned from the beginning): I believe that H. floresiensis is a new species, one that upsets several ideas about evolution, not only because of their small stature, but especially because they seem to use advanced tools with fairly small brains. This is what led me to first come here. But, given my own bias, I don't want to rush to accept Lieberman's conclusion as support for my feeling. I probably will get a chance to work on this in a couple of weeks; in the meantime, please feel free to e-mail me about the pdfs. Cheers, Edhubbard (talk) 14:32, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

In its current state...

...this article can't be featured. -- (talk) 18:42, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Why not? The article just went through a Featured Article Review three months ago, and the decision was to let it keep its little gold star WP:Featured_article_review/Homo_floresiensis/archive2. Do you have specific comments about why it is not Feature Article worthy? Edhubbard (talk) 23:52, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
There are some problems in the end of the "Discovery" part and there's a lack of images. -- (talk) 15:26, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
This is very good job, though :) -- (talk) 15:27, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Ok, great. Specific comments, we can work with. Let's work on the problems at the end of the Discovery part. What, specifically, would you like to see added, removed, or clarified? Or, just be bold, and we can come to a consensus together. The lack of images is probably going to be harder to deal with, since of course, to appear here in wikipedia, the images have to be in the public domain, or we have to justify the use of non-free content. When we were doing the FAR, we checked places like Flickr for any available free images. There just aren't that many out there. Edhubbard (talk) 20:02, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Look, I was in hurry when writing that but whatever. After all, it's your problem. You, sir, are just like anyone in the finnish Wikipedia and there they lack manners bad. I declare this conversation over. -- (talk) 23:51, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Quite alright. If you decide to come back sometime and make some specific constructive comments, I'd be happy to work with you. Edhubbard (talk) 01:06, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

I also don't think the article should be a feature article.

  1. Professor Teuku Jacob, chief paleontologist of the Indonesian, is dead, he died over 2 year ago. He will not be defending his hypothesis further, his close collaborator, Marciej Henneberg is a staunch multiregionalist, along with several other defenders of the 'pathological argument', since Jacob died I haven't heard anything of Henneberg. I should note that Henneberg and the other MREH-proponents of the controvesy are not even mentioned. "Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Sep 5;103(36):13421-6. Epub 2006 Aug 23. Pygmoid Australomelanesian Homo sapiens skeletal remains from Liang Bua, Flores: population affinities and pathological abnormalities.Jacob T, Indriati E, Soejono RP, Hsü K, Frayer DW, Eckhardt RB, Kuperavage AJ, Thorne A, Henneberg M. The last two authors on the list have to be among the top 5 multiregional origins proponents in science right now.
  2. The controversies section is way too long, in light of the new evidence the minor theories can be reduced substantially and the wording simplified.
  3. Images showing the parts that the group focused upon (comparatives of this human microcephalic structure versus the same structure in LB1) are needed. I would rank the article as GA.PB666 yap 14:56, 23 November 2009 (UTC)


The last sentence of the 'Evidence against microcephaly' paragraph is incorrect as is. It can technically be corrected simply by changing "neither" to "either", but it is still clumsily written. Suggested improvement: "This means that the physical characteristics of LB1 cannot, based on either brain or skull morphology, be attributed to a microcephalic Homo Sapiens." or "This means that LB1 cannot, based on either brain or skull morphology, be classified as a microcephalic Homo Sapiens." And, in the first sentence of paragraph 'Bone Structure', the "have" should be "has". - StevoDog21 (talk) 20:51, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

OK, no problem, thanks for noticing. If you see a mistake, you can be bold and do not have to ask. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 21:54, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Did they interbreed with Homo Sapiens?

If so, could it be that at least some modern humans have partial (even if it is only 1% or so) H. floresiensis ancestry? Was the Ebu Gogo of mythology supposed to have been genetically compatible with humans? If it was, then there is at least a chance that our hobbit friends could have left at least a few descendants. One can only hope. It's sad they had to become extinct, but maybe the cloud of their extinction did have a silver lining. Stonemason89 (talk) 14:49, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

At least at the HLA genetic level there was no evidence of interbreeding, there is no evidence at the mtDNA level or Y chromosomal level either. The level of inbreeding would have to have been very small to non-existent to explain these genetic findings.PB666 yap 15:08, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

I would also add that it is unlikely the Ebu Gogo myth is some kind of mythic memory of floresiensis. Myths about diminutive humans are extremely common in the world's cultures. Are we to suppose that, for example, European myths of dwarves are memories of a floresiensis population in north Europe? This supposed myth has also only became widely publicised/known because of the dubious association with the hominid, with the result that it's difficult to tell what the actual original myth was behind the modern, western media retelling that casts it as this ancestral memory. I suspect even the modern day inhabitants of Flores have already incorporated it into their mythology that their ancestors were in contact with floresiensis, no doubt due to a desire to please the over eager western researchers. -- (talk) 17:46, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Front page and "possible"

What new information does the front page have that we don't have here? As far as I can tell, the debate is still alive, although it does seem that the weight of evidence is slowly tipping in favor of the separate species idea. Was there some new publication that makes this "in the news"? I'm happy to see lots of little improvements here because the article is featured on the main page again, but after this dies down, unless there is some definitive new evidence that we don't have here in the article, there are a few things (like "possible") that should be added back in. I don't think that the main page constitutes an independent reliable source that should over-rule long-standing consensus here. Edhubbard (talk) 22:14, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. I had a really good laugh when I read the Giftlite's summary: "rv because the EN WP's front page now says, "Research concludes ..." But you are right, I have also come to the same conclusion that there is no way to fight these new species fans and we have to wait until the misleading info vanishes from the main page. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 23:03, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
So that's why this article is suddenly getting so many edits. I do agree that the statement on the front page seems more eager to accept the separate species status than it should be. I brought a suggested change in wording up at WP:ERRORS. Ucucha 02:54, 24 November 2009 (UTC)


I am reinstating the taxobox:

  1. It now states that the status of Homo floresiensis as a species is disputed (although this could be made even more prominent), which addresses the concern that the taxobox would imply that we consider H. floresiensis as a valid species.
  2. The premise for deleting the taxobox was that taxoboxes are not used for species of disputed validity, but this appears to be false: see Homo antecessor, Homo ergaster, Homo rhodesiensis, Australopithecus bahrelghazali, and Cavia anolaimae for some examples.
    They should be removed too then. Hesperian 11:04, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
  3. The reason we include taxoboxes in articles is that they provide useful information. The information about the classification of H. floresiensis, its fossil range, and its taxonomic authority is useful, regardless of whether we consider the taxon as valid.

Ucucha 14:21, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

The consensus is that a taxobox is misleading, it strongly suggests that it is a species, That this template is misused is not a basis for doing the same here. This taxobox is not useful because it over-simplifies the facts; the context-free data represents a strongly challenged classification as factual, it validates one side of the debate. No consensus has emerged to support its inclusion, here or in the real world. cygnis insignis 10:46, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
With the text I inserted, it does not represent "a strongly challenged classification as factual"; instead, it says that the status of H. floresiensis is disputed (this could, of course be done in a more prominent way than I did it). Ucucha 12:52, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
The presence of a taxobox is a statement of acceptance of the taxon. The text may well say the taxon is disputed; in which case the taxobox says "... but not really". A taxobox would be acceptable if there were some way to change the "Scientific classification" heading to "Putative scientific classification"; but there isn't.

One way of looking at it is to ask yourself what impression someone will be left with if all they did was look at the taxobox. The inevitable answer is they will be mislead. Hesperian 13:58, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

That is easy to fix. Would it make sense to change {{Taxobox}} to allow changing "Scientific classification" into something like "Putative scientific classification"? H. floresiensis is not the only disputed taxon around, and I think such a change would allow for the benefits of having a taxobox on such pages without compromising neutrality. Ucucha 14:12, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
It is worth taking to Template talk:Taxobox, though I am undecided whether I would then support including a taxobox here; nor do we know Cygnis insignis' view on this. Hesperian 03:43, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Seeing that CI hasn't responded yet, I'll bring this to the Taxobox talk page in a while. Ucucha 13:24, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Having the name written in italics throughout is as misleading as having a taxobox, it indicates the species is valid. FunkMonk (talk) 09:52, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Not at all. Adopting a nomenclature need not imply acceptance of a taxonomy. Home floresiensis is the only available name for this concept, irrespective of whether you accept that the concept is a taxon, and if so, at what rank. Hesperian 11:26, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
The point was not that we use the name, but that we use italics. As far as I know, only valid scientific names are italisized. FunkMonk (talk) 09:51, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Then you are simply wrong. All scientific genus and species names are italicized, whether they are considered valid or not. Ucucha 11:50, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Incorrect, there's some info here: FunkMonk (talk) 12:16, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Appendix B of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature says "The scientific names of genus- or species-group taxa should be printed in a type-face (font) different from that used in the text; such names are usually printed in italics". Nothing there about synonyms being different. Several of the recommendations interspersed in the text of the Code also include invalid taxa written in italics.
The blogger you are referring to seems to be confusing the use of quote marks when the generic placement of a species is in doubt with the issue of italics. Note that the blog posts he links to as using this naming consistently uses "B." brancai, not "B." brancai. Ucucha 12:41, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Seems like a few Wiki articles might be wrong then. FunkMonk (talk) 08:22, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Which ones? Let's correct them. Ucucha 13:01, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Hesperian. But what makes me tired is that some contributors keep rewriting "possible species" to "species", thinking that a couple of studies declaring it to be a separate species is enough to consider it confirmed. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 11:37, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the most recent publications may be tipping the scales towards accepting this as a species, but it would be nice to get confirmation of broad scientific consensus on that before we reflect such a consensus here. Hesperian 13:20, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
What criterion should we use to decide when there is enough consensus to accept it as a species here? Ucucha 13:24, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
That's a difficult one, because the dissenters who find themselves convinced by recent publications are unlikely to publish reliable sources for the sole purpose of putting "Yes you were right after all: it is a species" on the public record. Common sense and consensus, I guess. Hesperian 14:04, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
That seems reasonable. One concrete thing to look for might be that no studies arguing for some disease hypothesis are published anymore. The last such study cited in the article is the one on cretinism (Obendorf et al., June 2008, current ref 13). Ucucha 14:09, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
In science the consensus does not and cannot come fast. One year from the last study which disagrees is too short time. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 16:42, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not looking to carry on a heated arguement, but it seems to me that taxoboxes are usually given to taxa even if their validity is refuted by the majority of scientists. This is often the case for nomen dubia, but is also true for taxa where the material is already well known. Of course, the possible synonymy of a taxon is rarely as hotly debated as it is for H. floresiensis, so this may merit taxobox removal. I'm in favor of the idea of changing the taxobox template to allow for a "putative scientific classification" parameter, because without the taxobox it seems (to me anyway) that the article is in favor of calling H. floresiensis an invalid taxon. Smokeybjb (talk) 01:50, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the argument that not having a taxobox is also a breach of neutrality has some merit. I now brought the issue up at Template talk:Taxobox and I hope we'll soon be able to say in the taxobox that the classification is disputed. Ucucha 04:15, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it has merit; or, rather, it has merit only with respect to editors who know Wikipedia so well that they have come to expect an infobox on every article. Hesperian 04:18, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we should have a vote about whether to include a taxobox or not? Things have changed since last consensus. FunkMonk (talk) 08:22, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
This is a collegial discussion. Tangible progress has already been made, and people are shifting their positions in response to reasoned argument and new developments. Why would you want to polarise things by calling a vote? Hesperian 11:19, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
You said yourself that people are shifting their positions, what wrong would there be in confirming this? FunkMonk (talk) 11:32, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
VIE101 is thataway. Hesperian 11:48, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
I quite agree with Hesperian. The current proposed change at Template talk:Taxobox will likely have an impact on whether people feel a taxobox is justified, so we should wait until it has been implemented. Ucucha 13:01, 26 November 2009 (UTC)


Homo floresiensis
Temporal range: Late Pleistocene
Skull with associated mandible.
A cast of a Homo floresiensis skull, American Museum of Natural History
Scientific classification (disputed)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Tribe: Hominini
Genus: Homo
Species: H. floresiensis
Binomial name
Homo floresiensis
Brown et al., 2004

We now have an extra option in the taxobox template which allows us to note that the classification is "disputed" or something similar. I made a sample of what the taxobox for this article would look like that way. Is there consensus to include this taxobox, which explicitly says that the scientific classification is disputed? Ucucha 23:02, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

No objection from me (also no objection to its omission). Hesperian 05:13, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
As it's been some time and no one really objected, I'm now moving it to the article page. Ucucha 02:22, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Bad footnoting, citing, writing

Putting all the bibliographic citations in footnotes is decades out of date (except for some stubborn journals in humanities), especially in the sciences.

I noticed a major design flaw in the notes, which reflects a major design flaw in the basic form. The article is a hybrid of encyclopedic article and a piece of journalism. About half of the footnotes are from nonacademic periodicals, and most of these repeat what is cited from the academic literature. I think it's good to have some lay citations because they will be more widely accessible online to the general public (lots of academic literature is only available at university libraries, which subscribe to it), but here this good idea seems to have been way overdone.

In several notes, they confused the journal with a Web sites that republished the article in question.

The lead. It was rambling, filled with trivia, and its narration was weakly conceived. The article overall is poorly narrated.

There is too much journalistic storytelling here. This is not a science news magazine like Discover or Scientific American or Nature. All of which are great reads. Just inappropriate for Wikipedia. Hurmata (talk) 07:49, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Just now found a particularly bad example of sourcing. A single anatomical study was alluded to twice in the text under different scientists as if it were two pieces of research. It's Weber, Czarnecki, Pusch (2005). First it was cited (incorrectly) in the text as "Czarnecki et al." and reported (correctly) to be published research undertaken in response to Falk et al. (2005). Then a paragraph or two later it was indirectly — and evidently unwittingly — alluded to with "But Jochen Weber . . . says 'we can't rule out microcephaly' ", and this was reported (incorrectly) by the Wikipedian who inserted it as a reply to studies and comments published in 2006. The Wikipedian cited a weekly newsmagazine, and clearly that magazine's reporter was quoting Weber from an interview he gave them and not from Weber's academic paper. But Weber was invoking the content of his preceding year's paper, not fresh findings nor fresh comments. Hurmata (talk) 22:21, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Usage of 'human'

I'd like to ask why it is said that 'human' refers to members of the genus homo? Is this a technical usage? If so, it should be explained. It's certainly not the common usage, which uses 'human' to refer only to members of our species (well, sub-species I guess). Dougg (talk) 10:46, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

As far as I'm aware this is the technical usage. However I'm not sure I'd agree that it's not common usage either; in "common usage" no-one is likely to even talk about other members of our genus; "human" or no, so there isn't really a set rule for it. Hazarding a guess I'd say that in conversation I'd personally be unsure as to whether or not to refer to say, Neanderthals, as human or not and would probably alternate between the two. I certainly would not, however, use "animal" or similar terms. -- (talk) 11:18, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
That's my point really. If 'human' is used as a technical term (by anthropologists, archaeologists, etc) to refer to any members of the genus Homo then this should be specified up front in the article. I think it would be best however if this is done by someone who is a member of one of the disciplines that has this usage. Dougg (talk) 11:06, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Very good question. None other than Mike Morwood, the driving force behind the whole project that led to this major discovery, titled his definitive account A new human (cowritten with a science journalist, van Oosterzee). At least I assume he would have veto power over the title of his own memoir. In 1995 Morwood, who's actually an archaeologist, conceived the idea of looking in Indonesia for the immediate ancestors of the "First Australians" (i.e., the first Homo sapiens to have migrated to Australia (Prologue and p. 1)). On p. 110, Morwood calls the remains of 13 floresiensis individuals "these tiny humans" (remember, he and Peter Brown, a physical anthropologist who was in fact recruited by Morwood as a consultant to officially classify the remains (p. 91), claim these are a species distinct from sapiens). But these two instances of "human" are exceptional in the book; dozens of other times (e.g., 119, 176) he uses hominiD (which includes the genus Australopithecus'). In almost every case of "hominid", he could have said "hominiN", a taxonomically narrower term; and even "hominin" includes chimpanzees. Morwood refers to H. sapiens as "modern humans" (e.g. pp. 88, 97). Hurmata (talk) 04:14, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Some clearing up: "hominid" refers to a member of the family Hominidae, which includes everything from orang-utans via gorillas, chimps and australopithecines to us. "Hominine", which is rarely used, refers to the subfamily Homininae, which includes everything down from gorillas. "Hominin" refers to the tribe Hominini and includes chimps, australopithecines, us, and relatives. All unquestionably include H. floresiensis. There seems to be no vernacular term for the subtribe Hominina, which excludes chimps. Then we get to the genus Homo, and I introduced text referring to that genus as "humans" because the prior text was "[[Homo (genus)|hominin]]" or something similar, which is clearly incorrect linking. Usage of "human" as an equivalent for Homo is not unprecedented [21], but may be contentious. I think that we should be precise in the lead, so refer to the genus Homo. A construction like "is a possible species of extinct hominid in the genus Homo" may be possible, but I don't like the idea of introducing all those scary words in the very first sentence of the article. Ucucha 04:31, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Hi, I just created an account here becuse I wanted to comment on the same thing. I understand that it is contentious whether Homo Florensiensis should be considered human. But everywhere else on Wikipedia the term human means homo sapiens (which Homo Florensiensis clearly is not - I guess it would have had to be called Homo Sapiens Florensiensis then). If we choose to keep the opening line of the article as it is, it will be inconsistent with the very link [human] it refers to. Clicking on the link [human] brings me to Homo (Genus), but searching [human] brings me to homo sapiens. Such inconsistency cannot be desirable.

As for the references to "these tiny humans" it may be relevant to compare that to the use of dwarf planets. It was generally agreed that these are not real planets. I think the same logic can be applied given that the statements are exceptional in the mentioned book.

Why not just start the article with: "Homo floresiensis ("Flores Man") was a possible species in the genus Homo (genus) Homo"

Or: "Homo floresiensis ("Flores Man") is an extinct, possible species in the genus Homo (genus) Homo" --HVMC (talk) 05:33, 25 January 2010 (UTC)HVMC

Okay, I've been bold (after a long delay) and made the relevant changes, I hope they're acceptable. Dougg (talk)

AfD of John D. Hawks

This article was attacked as nonnotable and proposed for deletion. You can comment atWikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/John_D._Hawks#John_D._Hawks. --JWB (talk) 22:42, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Strange statement

"including a Stegodon elephant species on Flores. (This elephant, of normal size, emerged on the island by 750,000 years ago, replacing a dwarf Stegodon species that went extinct by 840,000 years ago"

How does a new species evolve from a previous species which had gone extinct 90,000 years previously. It appears to make no sense.Eregli bob (talk) 10:29, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

It's unclear to be sure, since if it did not somehow migrate to the island it must have evolved from a continuing population. Paul B (talk) 10:36, 8 September 2010 (UTC)


I have moved this here as, on the face of it, it appears to contravene WP:SYN. Though well cited, there is no clear indication that any of these articles actually discuss Floresiensis. If the editor is making the link to Floreseiensis rather than the authors, that's WP:OR:

In fact, the requirement of the human brain and skeleton for some essential nutrients including iodine[1] and some essential fatty acids[2] which are most easily found in seafood[3], as reported by Venturi and Bègin (2010) and by Cunnane and Crawford (2010), in these people living inland territories were surely deficient.

If some of these authors make a direct connection, we need to know which do. The phrase "in these people living inland territories" is obscure. In any case, it's probably not based placed in the Lede, but in the relevant section on brain conditions affected by iodine deficiency. Paul B (talk) 09:13, 13 October 2010 (UTC)


From the London Globe

"In the year 1890 some bones of enormous size, double the ordinary in fact, were found in the tumulus of Castelnau, (Herault) and have since been carefully examined by Prof. Keiner, who while admitting that the bones are those of a very tall race, nevertheless finds them abnormal in dimensions and apparently of morbid growth. They undoubtedly reopen the question of the “giants” of antiquity, but do not furnish sufficient evidence to decide it."

Reprinted in the New York Times, Oct. 3, 1892

In 1890, the anthropologist Georges Vacher de Lapouge while excavating a Bronze age burial near Castelnau-le-Lez unearthed human bones of the humerus, tibia, and femur, twice the ordinary size. He estimated the height of the subject as 3,50 meters and several hundred kilos in weight. In this same Bronze age cemetery he found about 40 normal sized skulls, but among them was a frontal piece of a skull of very large size he estimated must have belonged to a young man very much over 2 meters in height. His findings were published in the journal Nature - La Nature, Vol. 18, 1890. And subsequent news reports from the London Globe and New York Times reported on these giant bones (1892- A Race of Giants in Old Gaul).

In 1894 The New York Mail and Express, plus additional newspapers reported that human bones of gigantic size and skulls 30 to 32 inches in circumference were found by laborers building a water reservoir at Montpellier, France (2 miles south of Castelnau). These bones were sent to the Paris Academy of Sciences, and were said to have belonged to persons over 10 feet in height.

The notable professor of pathological anatomy at Montpellier school of Medicine, Dr. Paul Kiener was of the opinion the giant found by de Lapouge was a product of pathological growth, yet he admitted he must have come from a "very tall race."

Middle: Humerus of normal sized man from same cemetery. Left: Humerus of giant twice the normal size. Bottom: Femoral mid shaft of giant, circ. 16 cm m/s Right: Tibia of giant, circ. 13 cm at nutrient foramen.

According to "The Medical bulletin: a monthly journal of medicine and surgery, Volume 12, pg. 144 - 1890" The bones, judged by their proportions must have belonged to a man "at least 10 feet in height."

If apparent human bones of very large size have been found pertaining to physical giants and it made the news 120 years ago... Why was everyone so quick to dismiss these giants as pathological? Might they in theory have been a racial branch of humanity -- not completely dissimilar to the Homo Floresiensis?

Aside from the fear that it might reignite the already swollen populace of Bible literalists, perhaps the idea that a population of giants who existed in the Pyrenees and southern France was a troubling and formidable challenge to their own pre-held doctrines?

This is just food for thought. -- (talk) 20:03, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Australopithecine relative hypothesis

No mention is made here of the hypothesis that Floresinensis could be a descendant of australopiths, though mention is made of its resemblance. With a brain smaller than a chimp's and a skeleton striking similar to Lucy (A. afarensis), I find it difficult to believe this was even in the genus Homo. Because of the "publish or perish" environment of academia, researchers are unwilling to share fossils until they've milked them for all they are worth, a situation which has resulted in status quo theories persisting long after genuine objections and counter-evidence has been found. The theory that no one but Erectus could have crossed out of Africa is long overdue for a serious re-examination, especially given the relative lack of research in Asia as compared to Africa. Conservative anthropologists arbitrarily assign a border between Africa and the Near East that was "uncrossable" by Habilines or Australopithicines, when in reality no such "border" existed: environments do not cease to be just because you've crossed into a new continent; in fact "savannastan" stretched from Africa to China. And yes, the Australopithecines were not as well suited to walking long distances as Homo, but that does not mean they could not travel the same territory. There was no barrier to them doing so, just the fact that they would have made their way east more slowly due to their different gait. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:54, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

But, and you have cited no sources whatsoever to improve the article. HammerFilmFan (talk) 18:29, 17 July 2011 (UTC) HammerFilmFan

Work needed

Hello everyone! This article currently appears near the top of the cleanup listing for featured articles, with several cleanup tags. Cleanup work needs to be completed on this article, or a featured article review may be in order. Please contact me on my talk page if you have any questions. Thank you! Dana boomer (talk) 16:07, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Semang not "of Africa"

In section "Small Bodies", I find the wrong statement: "(...) such as the Pygmies (< 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)),[22] Twa, Semang (1.37 m (4 ft 6 in) for adult women) of Africa (...).". --> The Semang are 'of Asia', not of Africa, meaning they dwell in Asia since prehistoric times. Or maybe it's just the way the sentence is constructed and I'm overdue for bed...

Alexander Illi (talk) 22:37, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Recent Single Origin Hypothesis vs Multiregional Hypothesis

I edited the previously POV spin placed in this article. Both the Single-Recent Origin Hypothesis proponents and Multiregional Hypothesis proponents may have to merge their hypotheses into a larger viewpoint that includes both. While homo floresiensis, if correct, disproves that all humans were "homo sapiens" just a few thousand years ago, recent DNA testing of humans showing traces of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA in the human genome disproves the "no intermixing" hypothesis of the Single-Recent-Origin crowd. This can only mean that homo sapiens today do not have a "single recent origin" but instead have a multiple-origin DNA provide that incorporates DNA from several migrations out of Africa. Alas, no research has yet been done on hobbit DNA to show that it is or is not present in modern human DNA. Thus, this is really a mute point and a tangent. The only point relevant to this article is that the idea of the "hobbit" as a separate species of humans being supported by Chris Stringer points to growing scientific acceptance within the scientific mainstream. To go further than that is to miss the point.Ryoung122 18:14, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

While it is true that the simultaneous existence of as many as five human species only 40,000–50,000 years ago (H. sapiens sapiens, Neanderthals, Denisovans, Flores Man and the frequently overlooked Homo erectus soloensis) is a very remarkable recent insight, and interbreeding seems possible, even likely considering that modern humans had already colonised Australia at the time, the genetic evidence is equivocal and its interpretation contested. It is simply uncertain whether the shared part of the genome (which is large enough to be remarkable, but not large enough to dispel doubts) is truly the result of interbreeding (see Archaic Homo sapiens admixture with modern humans) or has a different explanation. I agree, however, that a weak form of the multiregional hypothesis being integrated into the Out-of-Africa paradigm seems increasingly attractive; however, my distinct impression is that it's far too early for such a synthesis as the evidence for admixture is still under discussion. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:08, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
I've cut out this whole section. The lede section is supposed to summarise the content of the article, not go off into totally irrelevant tangents about SOH v MRH. The additional materiial was in response to the inclusion of the opinion of Chris Stringer, who argues that presents "difficulties" to supporters multiregionalism, "who believe that recent humans were all one species". Frankly, this argument seems utter nonsense to me. Multiregionalism is not threatened by the existence of an isolated non-H.Sapiens population on an obscure island. I know no evidence that the anti-Species faction is made up of Multiregionalists. OK, so my opinion is not notable, but Stringer's might be. If so, it should go in the body of the article somewhere, not in the lede, since it is totally unsupported by the rest of the content. But we do not have to include every stray quotation. We can use editorial judgement about what seems to be relevant and important. Stringer's remark seems to be an isolated one. If there is evidence that the MRH v SOH debate is relevant, perhaps it should be put back in, but I think for now, it should be left out. Paul B (talk) 21:54, 5 November 2011 (UTC)


I'm planning on working on this article to restore it to GA, or preferably FA status. Please add to this section anything you think needs to be worked on. There's a lot of literature to read, so I'll be here for a while. Sasata (talk) 21:02, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Copied from User:Dana boomer's notes at the FAR:

  • Four citation needed tags stretching back to 2009.
  • A few other areas needing references. For example, in the Endemic cretinism hypothesis section, the sentence "The oral stories about strange human-like creatures may also be a record of cretinism." - says who? If this is from the study discussed earlier in the paragraph, it needs to be made more obvious. A few other areas like this - essentially, if an opinion is being given, it needs to have a reference.
  • Citation formatting needs work - there are bare URLs, references missing publishers, authors, access dates, etc. Formatting needs to be consistent for news/journal refs (some are in split format, others aren't). The way that page numbers are given should also be standardized - some are given in the text (as Ref:page numbers), others are given within the reference.
  • What makes Ref #35 (Patagonianmonsters) a reliable reference?
  • Ref #36 (Greenstone) is dead linking for me.
  • Endemic cretinism theory, "(only an abstract is available for the paper,[59] see also [60])" - discussion of abstracts should in the references, not the text. Or is there a reason that there only being an abstract is important to the discussion of H. floresiensis?
  • Why are a bunch of the entries in the References section missing authors? For example, the July 2008 Smithsonian ref, the September 2008 Spiegel ref, and the July 2004 Nature ref all have easily found authors, but none of them are listed here. These are just examples of missing ones, I didn't check all of them.
  • Check ENGVAR - I see lots of -ise's and -ize's, skeptic/sceptic, analyze/analyse, etc.
  • An IP has brought up on the talk page that the Small bodies section says "Semang...of Africa,", which they claim is incorrect and that the tribe is actually from Asia. If our article on the Semang is correct, then the IP is correct, since the article says they are from the Malay Peninsula, which is firmly in Asia.
  • Small bodies section, "Contradictory evidence has emerged." OK... what is the evidence? Is it important? Do scientists consider it credible?
  • Laron syndrome hypothesis, "the morphological features of H. floresiensis are essentially indistinguishable from those of Laron syndrome." Which features? Critics argue that the cranial vault is different, so, other than height, what features were being compared by Richards?
  • See also - what is important about Denisova hominin and the Nage tribe that leads to them being included in the See also section but makes them not notable for inclusion in the article text?
  • External links are extensive. Could these be trimmed? Links that are already used as references need not be repeated in the external links, and all links should be high value for the reader.

Comment on to do

I would like to raise some points, although they would require checking by someone who has access to scientific journals, which I do not.

1. Most experts appear to accept floresiensis's authenticity, but this is not reflected in the article. A Scientific American blog at [22] describes scepticism as a 'minority viewpoint'. Of course, a more authoritative statement would be needed of the state of the debate, perhaps in a summary article in a leading scientific journal, if such a thing exists.

2. Paul B deleted as "utter nonsense" a citation of the view of Chris Stringer (The Origin of Our Species, 2011, pp. 81-82) that some critics' opposition is due to the problems floresiensis poses for multiregionalism. (I wrongly inserted this in the introduction.) However, Stringer is one of the world's leading experts on human evolution, and I do not think his view should be dismissed like that. He is also not alone. Similar views are expressed here and here. A comment here argues that the discovery discredits multiregionalism while other discoveries discredit out of Africa. The topic needs to be covered.

3. Stringer's 2011 book also makes other comments not fully covered in the article: that floresiensis may have reached Flores by accidental rafting from Sulawesi (p. 80), that they may have become extinct around 17,000 years ago (p. 81) (he seems sceptical of the 12,000 year date given in the article), and that it is unlikely that DNA will ever be recovered due to the tropical environment, but bone proteins may be a better bet (p. 197). Dudley Miles (talk) 19:02, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

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"Smaller Brains" section, final paragraph: grammar correction needed to make sentence understandable.

[I'm not going to make a change to the main page. I'm just "wandering through", doing some reading on an interesting topic; in that sense, I have no vested ongoing interest in seeing a correction made -- except that it is good to promote clear presentation of correct and accurate information. I am unknown here, and so have no cache' here. So I would like others "who can be trusted here" to review this and make the sort of correction I am proposing. It is possible, even, that the original author(s) is here and still paying attention; I expect they know what they intended to communicate, and so might be the best choice to fix the problem.]

Read this long sentence, copied from the "Small Brains" section of the page, please:
However, modern Homo sapiens have a brain volume slightly smaller (1,400 cm3 (85 cu in)) than neanderthals, women have a brain volume slightly smaller than men and Homo floresiensis with a cranial capacity of about 380 cm3 (23 cu in), considered small for a chimpanzee) and about a third that of H. erectus, apparently used fire and made tools at least as sophisticated as those of their ancestor H. erectus.
Also realize that its context in the paragraph that contains it is important.

One more simple correction that I just noticed: The closing parenthesis after "chimpanzee" has no matching opening parenthesis. Maybe it needs one. Perhaps also, the closing parenthesis itself actually needs to be moved to immediately after "erectus" and then matched with an opening parenthesis. Perhaps it just needs to be removed.

Now to the reason I came here. The overall sentence structure of the quoted sentence, as it is now, is broken. It may communicate different things, depending on how it is punctuated.

If I simplify it by removing the mentions of actual measurements and by removing the "considered small [...] H. erectus" phrase, we have this remaining:
However, modern Homo sapiens have a brain volume slightly smaller than neanderthals, women have a brain volume slightly smaller than men and Homo floresiensis, apparently used fire and made tools at least as sophisticated as those of their ancestor H. erectus.

Did the author(s) intend to say that "women have a brain volume slightly smaller than men and Homo floresiensis"? If not, then I suggest a comma or semi-colon after "men" here.

The "apparently [...] H. erectus" phrase seems to be tacked on. Everything else in this sentence refers to brain volume, and this does not. I don't know if a piece of text was deleted accidentally conflating to previously-unattached and unrelated pieces of text into the current "sentence", or if it was poorly written originally, or poorly edited in other ways. But I think the best thing might be to separate this phrase entirely, placing it in a new complete sentence with a clearly-understandable subject, even at the risk of repeating a few words.

Or perhaps a period should be placed after "men", and the comma between "Homo floresiensis" and "apparently used fire" should be removed to make "Homo floresiensis" the subject of a brand new sentence! If that is so, don't forget to put a new conjunction in front of "women", or else to replace the comma in front of women with a period. (Oh, yes, and capitalize words as necessary when and if they suddenly become the start of a new sentence.)

My own best interpretation, actually taking into account the surrounding context, is that it should be re-punctuated, also moving one set of numbers forward a tiny bit and removing a set of parentheses, as follows:
However, modern Homo sapiens have a brain volume of 1,400 cm3 (85 cu in), slightly smaller than neanderthals; women have a brain volume slightly smaller than men; and Homo floresiensis, with a cranial capacity of about 380 cm3 (23 cu in) -- considered small for a chimpanzee and about a third that of H. erectus -- apparently used fire and made tools at least as sophisticated as those of their ancestor H. erectus.

Why do I make the choices I do? I *think* that the author meant to say three things in support of their contention that "size alone isn't everything". Their three claims are:
1) Modern man has a smaller brain than neanderthals (with the unstated assumption that modern man is smarter).
2) Women have slightly smaller brains than men (with the unstated assumption that women are at least as smart as men; or, perhaps they assume, smarter).
3) "H. f." apparently used fire and made tools to compare with those of bigger-brained "H. e." (this being taken as a measure of intelligence).
These three claims can all be put into one sentence (such as "I claim A, and I claim B, and I claim C."), and because the claims are related, doing so is a good choice. Grouping the related claims and concepts in this way is a better choice than making three completely separate sentences with periods. Now, the author(s) left out a comma before the conjunction "and" preceding the third claim. A comma is optional before a conjunction; using and omitting it are both grammatically correct choices. In this particular sentence's case, however, omitting a comma after "men" was a grammatically correct but extremely poor choice -- since it left open the chance that "and" was being used to group "men" and "H. floresiensis". (For this reason, and for consistency, I always prefer including the final comma in a list and a comma before a conjunction!) Not omitting the comma there would have been far better (necessary, in my estimation). ... But because of all of the measurements-in-multiple-sets-of-parentheses and especially because of the final claim's three parentheticals, the commas between claims should absolutely be replaced with semi-colons. When an item in a list of items separated by commas also itself contains commas, the commas separating items in the list should be replaced with semi-colons (you can think of them as "super-commas"). [If you need to know more, search the web for "comma vs semi-colon lists"; you'll find simple descriptions alongside complex ones, and good examples.] ... Finally, I used the long dashes surrounding "considered [...] erectus" because there were already too many parentheses and commas in the whole sentence. In fact, that phrase is itself parenthetical to the parenthetical phrase about "H. f."'s brain capacity, instead of the main phrase. (Some of you may be more comfortable with the term "dependent phrase".) It represented a new level of nesting, if you will, so differing punctuation is a good way to help indicate it and help the reader keep everything straight.

So, thanks for reading, and in summary: Somebody who will be accepted by the community, please fix this small portion of the page for future readers' better understanding and enjoyment.

If the length of this post seems out of proportion with the simple nature of the needed changes, then you probably understood the need quickly. But I don't plan to re-visit this page or topic, so I had to make my argument as complete and persuasive as I could from the outset, for all range of readers, regardless of education. And I had to account for the possibility that I might still not be reading the original intent perfectly. (talk) 21:17, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Local oral history and evidence of relationship with modern humans

I am surprised to see no mention in the article, talk page or talk archives of the nearby village of Rampasasa, its pygmy population and their oral history. From Time magazine Bones of Contention, by Simon Elegant, dateline: Rampasasa Monday, May 30, 2005:

"In those days we ate our meat raw, like animals." The speaker is Viktor Jurubu, an Indonesian farmer in his 60s, who, in his T shirt and sarong, looks little like the cavemen he's describing. Except for his height, which is about 140 cm. In the world of anthropology, Jurubu's small size is big news because he and his 246 fellow villagers of Rampasasa on the remote island of Flores say they are descended from a tribe of tiny, hairy folk whom they call "the short people." "We didn't have knives but used rocks," he explains. "We didn't even know how to make fire." Jurubu, a soft-spoken man with close-cropped gray hair, high cheekbones and deeply inset eyes, looks to the 30 or so villagers sitting in a circle around him for confirmation. They nod and grunt assent, and he proceeds to talk about the time their shy ancestors hid themselves from the outside world in Liang Bua, a high-ceilinged cavern scooped out of a limestone hill about a kilometer away. Again a chorus of agreement. "Tell how Paju left the cave and married one of the normal humans," calls out a voice from the crowd, "[and] how we came to live here in Rampasasa." Jurubu hesitates. After a pause, he opens his mouth to speak, but his words are drowned out by an impatient babble of voices competing to tell the story.
The inhabitants of Rampasasa insist their claimed genealogy is no tall tale. Indeed, among the rattan-and-thatch shacks of what otherwise seems an ordinary if very poor Flores village, it's hard not to notice the large number of very short people, particularly among the older folk, some of whom are the same height as a typical 10-year-old. Some six generations of intermarriage with outsiders, says Rampasasa's headman Alfredus Ontas, have left few truly tiny individuals. But to prove their antecedents, he and other locals eagerly display photos of recently deceased relatives whom they say were of purer "short people" stock. "The brothers in this photograph were only 110 cm," Ontas says proudly. ... Another elder is introduced, who, as well as measuring only 135 cm tall, has a pelt of hair covering his arms and legs. "It was because we were so hairy that our ancestors hid in Liang Bua," says Jurubu. "They were embarrassed."
Jacob measured more than 70 villagers and says 80% of them qualified. The theory that Thorne, Jacob and other like-minded anthropologists are propagating is that the Liang Bua female was an ancestor of a Rampasasa villager and a Pygmy, but that she suffered from microcephaly, a condition that causes abnormally slow skull growth. Says Jacob: "They say they have eight specimens. But there is only one skull and that could be microcephalic. The rest could just be Pygmies and that is even more likely now that we know people in the area around the cave are also Pygmies."
In the village of Rampasasa, Viktor Jurubu harbors no such doubts. He has the floor again and is recounting the story of how Paju, a famous warrior, ran into one of the "normal" people in the woods one day while out hunting. "This beautiful lady lit a fire and cooked the wild boar Paju had killed," Jurubu says. "She wanted to marry him and knew she could tempt him with the taste of cooked meat. He did like the taste, so he agreed to marry her and come out of Liang Bua with the rest of the tribe, founding a new village."
And the bones in the cave? "Of course, they were our ancestors," says Jurubu, with a touch of rheumy indignation. "They must have retreated into the cave after a hunt and got caught there when the river rose. Who else could it be?"

Pictures of the residents of Rampasasa show some visible morphological facial skeletal affinities with the alleged Floriensis skull, particularly in the supra-orbital region and the chin. Other affinities are noted in "Pygmoid Australomelanesian Homo sapiens skeletal remains from Liang Bua, Flores: Population affinities and pathological abnormalities" by Jacob et al. in PNAS, such as dental abnormalities in the alleged Floriensis remains which are common in modern local residents(premolars turned 90 degrees). The paper also shows the severe asymmetry of the alleged Floriensis skull and indications of arm paralysis consistent with microcephaly (twist of humerus 110 degrees vs. normal 140-180 degrees), and other differences consistent with known pathologies. The contention that the skull was asymmetrical due to being deformed by burial is post-hoc on the part of the discovering anthroplogists and indeed, the discoverer initially published that the skull was symmetrical. Further the robustness of the skeleton alleged by the discoverers is disproved by the extremely thin walls of the femora. The evident career-enhancing motive for the anthropoligists of discovering a new, recent hominin rather than a mere pathological specimen should not be discounted; there is clearly a motive for overstating the evidence. A single specimen with alternative, much less unlikely explanations is effectively no evidence at all, particularly when there is such a strong personal motive for misinterpretation by the anthropologists. The same holds true of the alleged damage and loss of some bones by Jacob's team, which has no apparent 3rd party verification and a strong motive for false allegations. There may be a new species here, but the evidence of a single skull in the face of reasonable alternative explanations and local history is not nearly sufficient to establish such a species' existence.

Another complaint I have is that the format of the references in this article makes them all but unverifiable.

Enon (talk) 18:37, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Undue Weight

As per WP:UNDUE I feel that too much of this article is given to the minority position that the Homo Florensis is not a distinct species. Most of the archived debate was from a few years ago and as no new evidence has appeared against the prevailing theory that Homo Florensis is a species then we should edit down the amount of space given to alternate theories. Master z0b (talk) 07:37, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Facial reconstruction of Homo floresiensis skull

For those following/editors of this article, I just came across the news.

If someone see fit to add to the article. JoniFili (talk) 02:41, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

New study by Vannucci et al

This does not seem to me to be significant enough to be worth reporting in the aricle. Perhaps it should be in external links instead? Dudley Miles (talk) 14:49, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Why? FunkMonk (talk) 14:53, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Another new study Baab, Karen L. (10). "Homo floresiensis Contextualized: A Geometric Morphometric Comparative Analysis of Fossil and Pathological Human Samples.". PLoS ONE. 8 (7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069119.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help) has just been published.— Rod talk 17:35, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed

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LB1 hoax?

Some scientists assert that LB1 is a fraud in the vein of Piltdown, or some sort of fossil misidentification. Yet this is not mentioned on the page. Henneberg and colleges have made the claim for example LB1 is less than 100 years old and contains a modern dental filling (Henneberg and Schofield, 2008). FossilMad (talk) 14:47, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes, there are arguments that it is has been misidentified as a distinct species. That's covered in detail. No-one outside of fringe fantasists has ever suggested it was a hoax or fraud as far as I am aware. As for the "filling" - first I've heard of it. The skull has been extensively studied, so I've no doubt something like that would have spotted long ago. Paul B (talk) 14:52, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Here's a source: [23] "If Henneberg is right, the hobbit cannot be 18,000 years old, because only modern cultures do this kind of dental work. He wanted to see the bones again to test his idea, but his group has been denied access to the specimen by the Indonesians now in charge of it, because the discovery team is still analyzing it. "Access to the [original] specimens could have settled the tooth question ... in minutes," Henneberg says. So he made his claim not in a meeting or paper but in a book published last week and in hallway chat at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists meeting in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this month.
The idea spread around the blogosphere this week and sparked a furious response from, among others, Peter Brown of the University of Adelaide, who was part of the team that originally reported the hobbit. Brown calls the claim "nonsense" and says, "I cleaned the teeth of LB1 using brushes and soft probes. There was no filling." FossilMad (talk) 14:51, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Well that's from 2008. There have been many studies since then. Seems like a storm in blogspot. Paul B (talk) 14:58, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Henneberg and Schofield revised their book in 2010 [24] (responding to Peter Brown) and defend the claim about the modern dental filling. Since 2010, I can only find one study on the topic from 2011. On dental wear, dental work, and oral health in the type specimen (LB1) of Homo floresiensis Am J Phys Anthropol. 145(2):282-9. While this study claims that the dental filling claim has been falsified, Henneberg points out that this cannot be verified unless the original specimen is analyzed. FossilMad (talk) 16:12, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
The article you link to says "The claim that the lower left first mandibular molar of LB1, the type specimen of Homo floresiensis, displays endodontic work, and a filling is assessed by digital radiography and micro-CT scanning." That can only be done on the original specimen. There's no point doing digital radiography on a cast! So, yes, it has been refuted. It was a pretty silly claim to start off with. If it had been a major reason for scepticism, it might still have been worth including. But this seems to be one person's idiosyncratic idea. And even then, it has nothing to do with claims of "fraud in the vein of Piltdown", as you first asserted. Paul B (talk) 17:51, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

The filling story is briefly mentioned and dismissed in Chris Stringer's 2011 Origin of our Species, p. 82. Most palaeontologists accept that floresienis is genuine, and the views of the minority of sceptics are covered in more than adequate detail. Dudley Miles (talk) 17:26, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

I should have clarified: Henneberg and his colleagues have been denied access to LB1. That is why they dispute the claim the dental filling has been falsified. If you read their book Hobbit Trap they basically are hinting at a sort of conspiracy. Here's a review of the book: "They invoke the famous Piltdown forgery as an apriori rationale for questioning the authenticity of Homo floresiensis; they claim there are nonrandom errors and a "misleading pattern of removing evidence that disagrees with the 'new species' theory and reported dating"; they implicate "poor Indonesians" as potential sources of "fraud", and they wonder if the Indonesian Government is undermining scientific integrity for national interests." FossilMad (talk) 18:20, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

As I say, that's obsolete. A 2011 article can't be refuted in a book published in 2010. None of the reviews I have read of this book say anything about claims of fraud of conspiracy. You seem to be reading these "hints" yourself. Indeed most of the reviews I've seen are less than flattering about the book. After all it was Indonesia's own senior anthropologist, Jacob, who was the principal sceptic, and who was the one who took the specimins. Furthermore, these studies are not undertaken by the Indonesian government, but by respected scientists in serious scholarly journals. Paul B (talk) 18:45, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Re-read that section you quoted, and your description. Henneberg et al. "hint at a sort of conspiracy", the "invoke", they "claim", they "implicate", and they "wonder". In other words, in the absence of evidence, they speculate. That source deserves nothing more than a passing reference in relation to the larger disputing views. - Boneyard90 (talk) 13:43, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Peter Brown's refutation of the filling theory on his website would have been helped if he'd heard of the phrase "cast aspersions": "He has used this claim in an attempt to cast dispersion on the peer reviewed research conducted at Liang Bua" [25]. Oh dear Peter, what did they teach you in English class? Paul B (talk) 15:18, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
The entire field of paleontology is speculation is it not? "Henneberg, Eckhardt, and Schofield express concern that paleoanthropology, as a discipline, is not fundamentally engaged with doing good science. Instead, they claim, paleoanthropology panders to the academically politic forces of grant-grubbing as validation for scientific endeavors and interpretation of fossils". [The Hobbit Trap Reviewed by Lyia Pyne] I think the filling dental claim should be covered in detail. FossilMad (talk) 16:37, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
I think it's ridiculous nonsense that has been thoroughly refuted and which even its progenitor thought would not be taken seriously. It has never been published in a peer reviewed journal and the book in which it appears has had generally bad reviews. The quotation you repeat has no relevance to the topic at all. Everyone in academia complains about funding mechanisms being unfair. So what? The review you link to in your 18:20 5 June post is devastatingly dismissive. You clearly have no support for adding this. However, if you wish to seek outside comments you may do so via Wikipedia:Requests for comment or submit a Wikipedia:Dispute resolution report (though that seems premature). Paul B (talk) 16:44, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

I agree that there is no case for covering the filling claim. It is dismissed by leading palaeontologists and it appears to be speculation rather than a peer reviewed thesis. Dudley Miles (talk) 17:29, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Before we go on, I feel it necessary to point out to everyone that Paleontology is the study of non-hominin fossil organism, including dinosaurs. Paleoanthropology is the study of ancient humans, that is, all hominins extant and extinct, as well as other primates in our evolutionary ancestry. We should be referring to paleoanthropologists, or in the interest of brevity, "anthropologist" is a suitable inclusive term, as many anthropologists who do not specialize in paleoanthropology write notable academic papers on the topic of ancient hominins. - Boneyard90 (talk) 20:25, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Fine, but does that help us any? According to the relevant page Paleontology is the "scientific study of life existent prior to, but sometimes including, the start of the Holocene Epoch", which, if H. floresiensis lived c.94,000 to 13,000 BP, would, include our little friends. Yes, it's a hominim, but since Paleoanthropology "combines the disciplines of paleontology and physical anthropology", I see no reason to cast dispersion on the term in this instance. Paul B (talk) 20:46, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Down syndrome explanation

I claim no expertise in this field, so will not presume to edit the article directly. But I noticed this news coverage of two articles recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which seem to argue that this skull represents an Homo sapiens individual with Down syndrome, with a stature, abnormal skull variations and brain size consistent with modern individuals with that condition and indigenous to that island. Should this alternative explanation be included in this article? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:17, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Yet another theory by the sceptics. It might be worth mentioning, but it should not be given undue weight so long as the great majority of experts continue to accept floresiensis as a genuine species. Dudley Miles (talk) 09:53, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
It's Henneberg et al again, coming up with yet another theory. I guess the denture idea got a filling. Still, it's worth a mention. Paul B (talk) 16:25, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
That's puzzling, since these news sources claim that there is only one individual represented by these finds, where in fact, there are several. Kortoso (talk) 19:30, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
The latest claim is that only one individual (LB1) is abnormal, but the others, they believe, are not. The authors are the same people who wrote The Hobbit Trap in 2010 [26], and have be trying to prove it's not a real species for years. Paul B (talk) 21:37, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
Here's coverage from Science Daily which may be a better source, and it fully cites the two articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 21:53, 5 August 2014 (UTC)


After having read this article on 'Homo floresiensis' I must surmise its topic is not H.Floresiensis, but rather the LB1 specimen and its surrounding controversy. Reading it left me with the awkward sensation of being a witness to a dispute instead of having gained a degree of topical information. I would suggest a separate page is made that handles the LB1 specimen specifically or that the disputes are gathered in a section rather than pervading the entire article. This page has a distinctly substandard feel to it and should definately be revised. ```` — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:09, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't follow your argument. H.Floresiensis is, essentially, LB1. What would the article be about if it were not about LB1 and the debate about it? It's not as if we known anything about their culture, or language. Paul B (talk) 00:32, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
That's not entirely accurate; we know something about their culture. Associated faunal remains suggest that floresiensis hunted the dwarf elephants and Komodo dragons (Lieverman 2009). However, I agree that the debate should be included in the article. And I also agree that whoever reads or wants to learn about the controversial floresiensis remains, is almost immediately invited to take sides in the controversy. - Boneyard90 (talk) 14:38, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
That they were hunter-gatherers is fairly basic. I guess it could be called "culture" in a very broad sense, but I meant we know nothing about culture that's distinctive to them. The fact they hunted local animals is hardly distinctive. Pretty nearly every culture in the world does it, and it is already present in the article. If the IP could say what "topical information" they think it missing, it might help. Paul B (talk) 17:29, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Elaboration on Down syndrome hypothesis

This page goes into strong detail about many of the proposed hypotheses for the origin of H. floresiensis, but the 'Down syndrome hypothesis' section is a little neglected (likely due to the recentness of the proposal). I have three suggested areas of improvement:

1. More details should be included about the specific physical attributes which led researchers to believe Down syndrome was the pathology at work (i.e. facial asymmetry, endocranial volume, brachycephaly, flat feet)

2. It also might be important to include that the researchers found previous published measurements regarding stature and endocranial volume were biased downward; their corrected measurements actually put Down syndrome within the realm of possibility.

3. Also to be discussed is the fact that the projected statures of LB1 and other associated specimens are within the normal ranges for this region, though indeed at the low end. On the other hand, the endocranial capacity of LB1 is several standard deviations below the norm (which would suggest a developmental pathology such as Down syndrome).

--Horbaly.5 (talk) 16:31, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Horbaly.5, I look forward to your expansion of this section (though I don't myself subscribe to the hypothesis). Regarding your point 3, however, you'll need to deal with the issue that it only logically applies if LB1 is presupposed to be H. sapiens. If LB1 is actually a non-pathological specimen of a different species, there is no reason to expect its endocranial capacity to fall within the sapiens norm: presumably the original papers address this point. (FWIW, my money is currently on floresiensis really being a directly derived Australopithecus rather than descended via Homo.) {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 15:34, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

Pov in lead

The first sentence states "Homo floresiensis ("Flores Man"; nicknamed "hobbit" and "Flo") is widely believed to be an extinct species in the genus Homo." I don't think we should be saying that. Most of the lead seems to be pushing the separate species article. And finally, too many paragrahs, 4 is the normal maximum. See WP:LEAD. Dougweller (talk) 15:15, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Why don't you think so? Yes, there are nay-sayers. No-one disputes that. Of course the fact that there are so many alternative theories, even those that are no longer credible, means they get a 'disproportionate' amount of coverage, but that may be inevitable. Paul B (talk) 23:05, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
I see no POV issue. It's pretty well established among the majority of anthropologists that H. floresiensis is a separate species. You can cite a few diehards that are against the idea, but they are a minority, and they're not even unified on how to classify the recovered specimens. Besides, the article title pretty much establishes the Flores hominins as a separate species. So if nothing else, the lead sentence isn't describing the hominin specimens, so much as defining the term Homo floresiensis. But again, no POV. - Boneyard90 (talk) 13:17, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Ok, I can see that this backs the lead. I'm still not sure that the dispute should be so low. Does [27] about the actual origin need to be used? Dougweller (talk) 16:54, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
The source is a report of the original Nature piece at [28], so it would be better to use that. Presumably if Stringer is right, it should really be Austrolopithecus floresiensis! Dudley Miles (talk) 17:13, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
It's amazing enough to find a direct descendent of H. erectus at such a late date, but a member of genus Australopithecus, with a 2+ million year gap between the last agreed on member of Australopithecus and sp.floresiensis? That's not just ridiculous, it lacks even a shred of credible evidence to support it. - Boneyard90 (talk) 21:17, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

Was this species disputed or not?

Under Homo floresiensis' classification it says its special status was disputed but the rest of the article makes no mention of anything about this species being disputed which is extremely odd and confusing and further more it talks as if this species has a confirmed existence so if Homo floresiensis was disputed the rest of this article needs to be updated to clarify this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2605:A000:D141:3800:8156:4F2D:5AF7:E17F (talk) 21:59, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

There is a whole section about this and I have changed the heading to "Hypotheses that fossils are pathological modern humans" to make this clearer. Dudley Miles (talk) 22:37, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

Recently discovered Chinese Hominin with dwarfism

Today I read about an interesting discovery: the remains of a hitherto unknown hominin species believed to be similar to H. erectus but found in Mainland China. The remains were 14,000 years old - about as old as H. floresiensis and much younger than those of mainstream H. erectus. The comparison between the two is not only logical, it is made several times in the paper. If anything, this discovery provides evidence that H. floresiensis wasn't a sick modern human after all. Should we include this in the article? Steinbach (talk) 21:19, 18 December 2015 (UTC)

This is a fascinating paper, but I did not see any reference to dwarfism, and the only connection with floresiensis drawn is that both survived until less than 20,000 years ago. I do not see any relevance for this article, and it is in any case too early to start using it. We would need some evidence that it is widely accepted.
I think the paper is especially valuable for its summary of recent research, particularly the study suggesting that east Asians have a higher proportion of Neanderthal DNA than Europeans, even though there is no evidence that the Neanderthals got anywhere near east Asia. I will post a comment on the Neanderthal talk page. Dudley Miles (talk) 23:14, 18 December 2015 (UTC)
This is Red Deer Cave people and Darren Curnoe is studying both of these finds. NB: There is no DNA associated with either of these finds, so any connection with Neanderthal (or Denisovans) is very premature. There is also no morphological connection with Neanderthals either, so it's puzzling that you should bring it up.Kortoso (talk) 17:32, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I said that the study is valuable for summarising recent research (by other researchers) suggesting East Asians have a higher proportion of Neanderthal DNA than Europeans. Of course it does not suggest a connection between Red Deer Cave people and Neanderthals. See Talk:Neanderthal#Hybridisation with Neanderthals in East Asia. Dudley Miles (talk) 18:16, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. We still don't know what Denisovans look like; their DNA is common in SE Asia and they may be the same as the Maludong and Flores people. Kortoso (talk) 18:30, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

There is an RFC that may affect this page

There is an RFC that may affect this page at WikiProject Tree of Life. The topic is Confusion over taxonomy of subtribe Panina and taxon homininae (are chimps hominins)?

Please feel free to comment there. SPACKlick (talk) 16:40, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Remove "Homo floresiensis" reference as it is no longer considered to be human pygmy but another species. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:19, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

Not that recent? The new analysis, published today in Nature, asserts that the skeletal remains of H. floresiensis are more likely between 100,000 and 60,000 years old, and their stone tools date from as far back as 190,000 years to around 50,000 years ago. That suggests these evolutionary cousins did not exist for long after modern humans arrived in the region some 50,000 years ago.[4]

Kortoso (talk) 17:55, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
It appears that user has inserted the information, but it's a forced fit, not very elegant. Nonetheless, it's early days concerning this discovery; let's give this some time to sort out. 22:16, 30 March 2016 (UTC) (talk) 12:46, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

Yes, a number of textual passages based on the earlier 12-13,000 BP currently remain in the text. Since the new paper (not yet downloadable or copyable, chiz chiz) presents a straightforward reason for the changed estimate (a stratigraphical layer lost through erosion just above the remains), I suggest the changes not be left more than another day or so, as the current state of the article is obviously contradictory. {The poster formerly known as}
Thanks. A number of conclusions have been based on the assumption that the "hobbits" were thought to be so recent. If they are not, then a lot of those conclusions may be seen to be thrown out. Kortoso (talk) 16:35, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
This is beginning to be digested now. Here is John Hawkes' take on it:
(A bit of idle speculation: It's possible that Flores man (and Red Deer Cave man as well) may be members of the Denisova tribe...)
Kortoso (talk) 16:33, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Hawkes on the Sulawesi find I'm not sure whether this new find should be on this article or elsewhere. Still interesting. Kortoso (talk) 18:22, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Very interesting, but in my opinion it would be premature to add it to any article, and not to floresiensis as it is only tangentially relevant.
I do not understand Hawkes' comment: "We know now that the Neandertals were arrayed across the western half of Eurasia, in a set of populations that collectively were highly endogamous and subject to strong genetic drift. Across a broad geographic range, such high inbreeding could only be accomplished by high mobility on a millennial scale, a population structure in which no long-isolated population persisted for long." I would suppose high inbreeding implied low mobility and persistence of isolated populations. Can anyone explain? Dudley Miles (talk) 11:49, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
I think I see what you are asking. High mobility implies contact and breeding with a variety of populations. Staying put, or low mobility, is a recipe for inbreeding. Maybe that was a typo. Kortoso (talk) 21:55, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
Darren Curnoe, principal investigator on the Red Deer Cave people finds, discusses the re-dating of Flores Man:
He thinks Flores man is not in the genus Homo. Maybe Australopithecus, or a new genus.
Kortoso (talk) 19:04, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

Citation style

This article has an unclear citation style. Anyone object to moving web/book/journal references without page numbers closer to where they are used? So instead of "New Scientist 2004-12-11" and the citation further below, just "New Scientist (December 11, 2004). "Fight over access to 'hobbit' bones – being-human". ". jonkerztalk 19:17, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

 Done, jonkerztalk 08:05, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

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Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 09:40, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

New find

The latest excavation site, called Mata Menge, is located in the So’a Basin of central Flores, approximately 46 miles (74 kilometers) southeast of Liang Bua.
Their analysis, published today in Nature, indicates that the Mata Menge fossils most closely resemble H. erectus, though they are considerably smaller in size, and they have many common structural features with H. floresiensis.[5]Kortoso (talk) 17:57, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
Here's a link to the full letter in Nature, free to view, but not to download (tedious snip tool deployment is possible):

{The poster formerly known as} (talk) 10:18, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
John Hawks discusses the new find: Kortoso (talk) 16:35, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

Not Down Syndrome...

A Critical Evaluation of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis for LB1, Type Specimen of Homo floresiensis [6]

...This, combined with the large number of features common to the DS phenotype that were not present in LB1, indicates that it is highly unlikely that this individual had Trisomy 21 or DS. LB1 remains the type specimen of H. floresiensis, a species with its roots in Plio-Pleistocene Homo. Kortoso

And the original "pro-DS" authors (Robert B. Eckhardt, Maciej Henneberg) stick to their guns. [7] (talk) 23:04, 23 June 2016 (UTC)


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  2. ^ Crawford MA (2010). "Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Human Brain Evolution". In Cunnane S; Stewart K. Environmental Influences on Human Brain Evolution. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 13–32. ISBN 978-0-470-45268-4. 
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