Fossilized remains of hominids found in Mata Menge on the Indonesian island of Flores, can lead to an end to an old debate involving Homo floresiensis. After studying the findings, researchers are almost certain that Homo floresiensis is even a new species with a great evolutionary journey.
Excavations in the area located the remains of a jaw, a piece of skull and teeth belonging to at least three hominids. Radiocarbon dating indicates that they lived in the area for about 700,000 years.
Homo floresiensis is a hominid small brain – about 426 cm³ – and low height – up to 1.06 m tall. Due to the small, it became known as “hobbit” – creature created by J. R. R. Tolkien, author of “The Lord of the Rings.” It was known that Homo erectus, much larger than the hominid discovered in Flores Island – with 860 cm³ of brain and 1.65 m high – came to the region of Indonesia. But beyond the Homo floresiensis be much smaller than Homo erectus, had morphological characteristics similar to those of our earliest ancestors, such as Homo habilis – 614 m³ of brain and 1.18 m tall.
The mystery divided paleontologists. One group argued that the “hobbit” was a new species, small body and small brain, derived from Homo erectus. Another group argued that this was similar to the hominid Homo habilis or older ancestors. There was also the possibility that this was a modern human who had purchased a condition that left him with dwarfism. The jawbone found is 20% smaller than the smallest Homo floresiensis Liang Bua. In excavations at Mata Menge they were also found stone tools similar to those used by Homo floresiensis. According to paleontologists, besides floresiensis, only Homo erectus used similar instruments. The study authors suggest that hominids found lived in a warm, dry place, like a savannah.
Another issue that is not yet fully resolved is the drastic reduction that Homo erectus would have suffered in your body to get the size of Homo floresiensis. Paleontologists associate this transformation the absence of predators and food shortages, typical aspects of life in the islands. Only new comparisons between hominids or new archaeological findings could shed light on the missing link of this little creature.