Friday, October 29, 2004

Wee folk

The dwarf species of hominids discovered in Indonesia is getting to be a huge story. Nature has a whole web page covering many angles of the story. Most of these are free access.
The Beeb also has a litle blurb.
I missed some things of significance with my first post yesterday. The first is that these little hominids overlapped a lot with the era of anatomically modern humans, and although there is not fossil evidence of contact it is conceivable that big and little folk met each other. In this respect, it's interesting that the present-day inhabitants of Flores have lots of legends about "little folk," whom they call Ebu Gogo. It's put pretty provocatively by Henry Gee on the Nature page: maybe legends like the yeti are true as well? Maybe Boston really could win the Series. Who knows.
The second is that it's not certain who made the tools found at the site, but they are clearly reduced in size, as if intended for the smaller hominid species. It will be important to look at the hands of the skeletons. Their arms are long relative to a modern human proportions, raising the possibility that they lived in trees.

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