[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Remains of Homo floresiensis found

Interesting findings - taken from another list.


List members are probably aware of the discovery of the remains of Homo
floresiensis by Australian and Indonesian scientists on the island of
Flores in Indonesia. The most recent remains date back to less than 20,000 years ago and appear to be of a dwarf species of human, possibly descended from Homo erectus, which would have shared the island with Homo sapiens for
around 20,000 years. Many local legends of dwarf people persist in the
area, possibly surviving into the 19th century, if there are none alive today.

The following media reports give details:


The original papers are published this week in Nature:

Brown, et al., 'A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of
Flores, Indonesia.' Nature 431, 1055-1061 (October 28, 2004)
Morwood, et al., 'Archaeology and age of a new hominin from Flores in
eastern Indonesia.' Nature 431, 1087-1091 (October 28, 2004)

Of particular interest to linguists are the local legends of the Ebu Gogo, which may refer to this people. Although drawing a direct parallel must be
done with caution, in the light of these discoveries the legends may
contain more truth than has previously been realised. In the Guardian
article, the Ebu Gogo are reported to have been able to repeat words of the
languages of the local Homo sapiens population and to have been able to
communicate with each other. If Homo floresiensis did reach Flores by boat,
as is suggested, an ability to communicate complex ideas would not be

Mark J. Jones

Department of Linguistics
University of Cambridge