Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Hobbits" Had Brains the Size of an Orange

... and may have been a dwarf version of Homo erectus, according to this article at the Daily Mail.
Dr Yousuke Kaifu, of the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo, said: 'The new model shows that, contrary to expectations by some researchers, it is possible that large bodied Javanese Homo erectus migrated to the solitary island and evolved into Homo floresiensis by marked island dwarfism.' 
He added: 'Evolution of the genus Homo is characterised by increases in brain and body sizes, but Homo floresiensis suggests these human' characters can be substantially flexible.

'These may have evolved to the opposite direction in some specal circumstances.'
The brain was the tiniest of any member of the genus Homo, small even for a chimpanzee.

But despite giant lizards and storks inhabiting the island, there were no maneaters which may have meant the tiny creatures did not need a large brain for survival.
Otherwise, Homo floresiensis may have experienced 'neurological reorganisation' where brain functions are largely maintained in spite of its overall size change, said Dr Kaifu.

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