Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Floresians: Homo erectus or homo sapiens?

The New York Times > Science > Miniature People Add Extra Pieces to Evolutionary Puzzle
There has been little evidence until now that Homo erectus long survived its younger cousins' arrival in the region. Modern humans probably exterminated the world's other archaic humans, the Neanderthals in Europe. Yet the little Floresians survived some 30,000 years into modern times, the only archaic human species known to have done so.

First of all, I think Stepen Baxter should get special mention for making the Floresians seem inevitable.

Secondly, this article mentions in a rather off-handed way, that our ancestors slaughtered both Homo erectus and Neanderthal. I'd long assumed that was true (presumably we ate them), but I'd not realized it was now common wisdom. It's scary to think that, as nasty as we are now, we might once have been even worse.

Lastly, this is a great article. If the Floresians were Homo sapiens they are at once both less exotic and more fantastic. As to those who doubt that such odd looking creatures could be of the same species as us ... they need to compare a chihuahua to a Great Dane.

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