Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Monday, May 21, 2018

First Asians were not Homo erectus revisited

Back in 2011 I posted The first Asians were not Homo erectus, and proposed some migration routes including one (shown in green in the map included in the post) leading to Flores Island, home of the Hobbit.

Today after reading the article on the 709,000 year-old evidence of hominins in the Philippines (see my previous post), I checked some recent papers on the Flores Island "pigmy" hominin, and found a paper suggesting that they descended from Homo habilis: The affinities of Homo floresiensis based on phylogenetic analyses of cranial, dental, and postcranial characters by Debbie Arguea, Colin P.Groves, Michael S.Y.Lee, William L.Jungersde. Journal of Human Evolution Volume 107, June 2017, Pages 107-133 Journal of Human Evolution. Below I quote from the abstract (paper behind a pay wall): note, I highlighted the bold text.

"Although the diminutive Homo floresiensis has been known for a decade, its phylogenetic status remains highly contentious. A broad range of potential explanations for the evolution of this species has been explored. One view is that H. floresiensis is derived from Asian Homo erectus that arrived on Flores and subsequently evolved a smaller body size, perhaps to survive the constrained resources they faced in a new island environment. Fossil remains of H. erectus, well known from Java, have not yet been discovered on Flores. The second hypothesis is that H. floresiensis is directly descended from an early Homo lineage with roots in Africa, such as Homo habilis; the third is that it is Homo sapiens with pathology. We use parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic methods to test these hypotheses. Our phylogenetic data build upon those characters previously presented in support of these hypotheses by broadening the range of traits to include the crania, mandibles, dentition, and postcrania of Homo and Australopithecus. The new data and analyses support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis is an early Homo lineage: H. floresiensis is sister either to H. habilis alone or to a clade consisting of at least H. habilis, H. erectus, Homo ergaster, and H. sapiens. A close phylogenetic relationship between H. floresiensis and H. erectus or H. sapiens can be rejected; furthermore, most of the traits separating H. floresiensis from H. sapiens are not readily attributable to pathology (e.g., Down syndrome). The results suggest H. floresiensis is a long-surviving relict of an early (>1.75 Ma) hominin lineage and a hitherto unknown migration out of Africa, and not a recent derivative of either H. erectus or H. sapiens."

So, the Flores hominin was not afflicted with Down syndrome, instead it was a relict of an ancient (1,750,000 year old) migration out of Africa, which as you can see above is most likely Homo habilis.

Could these "primitive" relatives have moved across the sea into the Philippines... or across Asia and into America, long before Homo erectus appeared on the face of Earth?.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2018 by Austin Whittall © 
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