Friday, September 04, 2009

HUMANS & "HOBBITS' LIVED TOGETHER

'Very, very primitive': Debbie Argue compared bone fragments from the hobbits to other hominids. They were just one metre tall with very long arms, no chins, wrist bones like gorillas and extremely long feet.

In 2003, archaeologists excavating in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores made a discovery that forced scientists to completely rethink conventional theories of human evolution.

They reported the discovery of a new species of human, one that lived as recently as 12,000 years ago, at the same time as modern humans.

But others disagreed, arguing the one-meter high skeleton was a modern human that suffered from a deformity known as microcephaly.

The debate has raged ever since. But Debbie Argue, a PhD student from the ANU's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, believes she has settled the question by comparing bone fragments from the hobbits to other hominids.

"We discovered that Homo floresiensis ranged off the family tree almost at the beginning of the evolution of our genus, Homo."So that would have been over two million years ago, and as such a very, very primitive being."

"Previous to this we thought that what came out of Africa had modern body proportions and an expanded brain case, but this is a much more primitive being.

"So here we were sharing the planet where we thought we'd been the only people that survived after the end of the Neanderthals."

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