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      A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia.

      Nature

      Adult, Animals, Biological Evolution, Body Constitution, Bone and Bones, anatomy & histology, Female, Geography, History, Ancient, Hominidae, classification, Humans, Indonesia, Skeleton, Skull, Time Factors, Tooth

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          Abstract

          Currently, it is widely accepted that only one hominin genus, Homo, was present in Pleistocene Asia, represented by two species, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens. Both species are characterized by greater brain size, increased body height and smaller teeth relative to Pliocene Australopithecus in Africa. Here we report the discovery, from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia, of an adult hominin with stature and endocranial volume approximating 1 m and 380 cm3, respectively--equal to the smallest-known australopithecines. The combination of primitive and derived features assigns this hominin to a new species, Homo floresiensis. The most likely explanation for its existence on Flores is long-term isolation, with subsequent endemic dwarfing, of an ancestral H. erectus population. Importantly, H. floresiensis shows that the genus Homo is morphologically more varied and flexible in its adaptive responses than previously thought.

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          Most cited references 27

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          The locomotor anatomy of Australopithecus afarensis.

          The postcranial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis from the Hadar Formation, Ethiopia, and the footprints from the Laetoli Beds of northern Tanzania, are analyzed with the goal of determining (1) the extent to which this ancient hominid practiced forms of locomotion other than terrestrial bipedality, and (2) whether or not the terrestrial bipedalism of A. afarensis was notably different from that of modern humans. It is demonstrated that A. afarensis possessed anatomic characteristics that indicate a significant adaptation for movement in the trees. Other structural features point to a mode of terrestrial bipedality that involved less extension at the hip and knee than occurs in modern humans, and only limited transfer of weight onto the medial part of the ball of the foot, but such conclusions remain more tentative than that asserting substantive arboreality. A comparison of the specimens representing smaller individuals, presumably female, to those of larger individuals, presumably male, suggests sexual differences in locomotor behavior linked to marked size dimorphism. The males were probably less arboreal and engaged more frequently in terrestrial bipedalism. In our opinion, A. afarensis from Hadar is very close to what can be called a "missing link." We speculate that earlier representatives of the A. afarensis lineage will present not a combination of arboreal and bipedal traits, but rather the anatomy of a generalized ape.
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            Body Size of Mammals on Islands: The Island Rule Reexamined

             Mark Lomolino (1985)
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              The Human Genus

               B. Wood (1999)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                15514638
                10.1038/nature02999

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