The brain of Homo floresiensis

| 33 Comments

Scoot on over to The Loom for the latest details on the brain of Homo floresiensis. The results from a detailed CT-scan of the skull of the fossil hominid are in, and they are very interesting. The short answer: the brain of the hobbit most closely resembles that of Homo erectus and does not look like the brain of a microcephalic, but it does have its own peculiarities. Read Carl's story for all of the details.

33 Comments

Sweet bejesus thats fascinating. I went to a Peter Brown talk a month or so ago and he mentioned links with australopithicenes and predicted that new research would lead to H. floresiensis seeming more and more archaic. This seems to have borne that out.

Of all the possible findings in palaeoanthropology who would have predicted this? Amazing.

Given that the hobbits were found on an island and island mammals often evolve smaller, I think a descent from erectus is more credible right now.

Possibly, though the more archaic features that appear to be coming out would be hard to explain. I think the truth is that no one really has a clue whats going on.

Apparently some people still aren’t giving up on the disease theory:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4308751.stm

Skeptical myself, but I guess things still have a little way to go before we can completely move on.

The Drudge Report posted a link to the news before Panda’s Thumb.

How ‘bout that!

Too bad Scott Page isn’t still posting here so he can tell me how many more children he can save once he knows exactly where to place the hobbit in the tree of life.

It seems to me that the hobbit is an interesting thing.

On one hand it supports evolution in that they predict a missing link.

On the other hand it raises the issue that evolution REQUIRES a host of missing links.…

and unless this particular missing link is the human-monkey one then it doesn’t really strengthen the evolution argument as loose ends with missing links is just more and more missing links.…

Does anyone understand what DonkeyKong has posted?

In America there are Americans of Swedish descent. There are, however 8 million Swedes alive and well and living in Sweden. The Swedes in Sweden share ancestors with Swedish descended Americans. That explains the old conundrum of why although the Swedish Americans are descended from Swedes, there are still Swedes in Sweden.

Whatever the Hobbit turns out to be, its ancestors will track back to the hominid tree from which our sprig sprang. When someone uses the phrase “missing link” you just know they don’t get it. Still, it would be a dull life it were everyone to be the same.

BTW “as loose ends with missing links IS just more and more missing links . …” This is shocking grammar. The phrase should read “as loose ends with missing links ARE just more and more missing links . …”, although I still do not understand what DK means.

Pericles

Once agian DonkeyKong shows how clueless he/she really is.

What’s the problem? DK is making the standard creo ‘more gaps’ argument. PZ has an article on it somewhere - maybe he’ll give us the link.

DK is either willfully ignorant or just plain stupid (or both, it seems).

http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/[…]h/feb98.html

Easily accessible from the TO faq. Can you even try to do a little research and thought, DK? Just a wee bit?

As for the “human-monkey” bit, isn’t it telling that when showed a sequence of hominid skulls, Creationists who purport that there is an easy distinction between man and ape can’t remotely agree on which skulls are human and which are apes?

Creationists once again founder on their own spurious logic!

It’s a standard creationist trope. Every discovery creates two new gaps for them to whine about.

I love you guys, But…

Similiar is different than descended from.

Proving similiar has been acomplished.

But you are claiming descended from, which is a different thing. Pretending that a lack of understanding of this distinction makes you more intelligent is not a very effective bluff.

When you say that gaps are acceptable this has consequences that weaken your whole framework.

If first common ancestor is species 0 which begat species 1 which begat species 2 etc etc etc.

When you say a gap between species 891 and species 893 is unimportant then it opens the possibility that I will counter claim that then the real lineage is 890->893 or even 889->893 etc etc etc.

In fact to be contraversial I could claim 0 begat 893 directly. Since you have no evidence to the contrary when you oppose my claim you have a very weak footing.

Your argument is basically that because monkeys are more similiar to humans then it MUST be easier for a monkey to evolve into a human than for a fly to evolve into a human. THIS IS A RELIGIOUS BELIEF!

There is a complete Total astoundingly obvious lack of any understanding of HOW monkeys supposedly evolved into humans.

You rely completely on an assumption that small mutations are more likely than large mutations. There is no proof of this. Yes I understand a single base changing 10,000 times is easier to imagine than 10,000 bases changing but MANY MANY MANY things in science that are easier to imagine are wrong. Science is about evidence and proof.

Lack of species to species evolution examples that have been witnessed means lack of proof.

If you allow gaps but then insist you know the size of the gaps and that other larger gaps are silly.…..

Are the more intelligent of you catching on yet?

“There is a complete Total astoundingly obvious lack of any understanding of HOW monkeys supposedly evolved into humans.”

I’m afraid it is your lack of understanding that is being demonstrated. Humans and monkeys share a common ancestor. Both lineages have undergone change since evolving from that common ancestor. The degree of change, and degree of similarity, has been demonstrated both morphologically and genetically. What’s the big mystery?

DonkeyKong Wrote:

Lack of species to species evolution examples that have been witnessed means lack of proof.

Thank goodness we have lots of examples of observed species to species evolution.

Keep ‘em rolling DonkeyKong! The PT Marios have their hammers ready to smash your barrels to pieces.

DonkeyKong, you still haven’t recognised you where shown to be wrong about pretty much all of your post in Comment # 19010 as I pointed out in Comment # 19038

Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you have such a bad understanding of the concepts that you try to talk about?

Jeremy Mohn

Since I am interested in such matters, please document for me the known instances of species to species evolution. Specifically, identify the parent species and its immediate product species, recognizing that the criterion for two separate species is that their hybrid is sterile, a definition provided by Theodosius Dobzhansky, who incidentally was a devout Darwinian.

Thanking you in advance,

John A. Davison

Um-m, John,

Dobzhansky’s definition of species, as stated in the TalkOrigins piece linked by Jeremy, doesn’t seem to agree with your rendering. Are you referring to Dobzhansky 1937 or 1951 - or some other Dobzhansky definition of species? Please clarify or explain the discrepancy.

Thanking you in advance,

Bob

John A. Davison Wrote:

Since I am interested in such matters, please document for me the known instances of species to species evolution. Specifically, identify the parent species and its immediate product species,

The documentation you want is provided at the link I gave in my previous comment and in the articles that are cited there. I sincerely hope you’re not asking for me to re-create that documentation here. Besides being a waste of my time and yours, there would probably be some copyright issues.

the criterion for two separate species is that their hybrid is sterile, a definition provided by Theodosius Dobzhansky, who incidentally was a devout Darwinian.

Dobzhansky’s original species definition was overly restrictive. It worked well in experimental situations, but it did not suitably reflect what happens in nature. That’s why Dobzhansky eventually relaxed his definition. Species definitions are not as solid as you are suggesting, John. Of course, you’ve been interested in Biology a lot longer than I have. I’m sure you already knew this.

Mohn

“It worked well in experimental situations, but it did not suitably reflect what happens in nature.”

No, that’s not right. What it didn’t suit was the argument for mutation/selection. Nobody could demonstrate, even in 20,000 years of selecting dogs for unique traits, that a new species had arisen.

Darn. Well, if you can’t show those anti-Darwinians an instance of speciation then just change the definition of speciation!

If you can’t reach the goalpost just move it closer and pretend it was in the wrong place all along.

Disgusting.

Testing for capability to produce fertile offspring is often IMPRACTICAL but otherwise it’s the definitive test for a new species and I’m not going to accept any Darwinian apologist notions to the contrary.

Dave, no one was trying to breed a new species, they were trying to breed for different traits in dogs. Once those traits were hit to an acceptable degree (for whatever trait was wanted), they stopped. If you breed for shortness, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get an entirely new species.

But bacteria are still bacteria, so you can end all your posts with QED I guess.

Hold it right there, Dave. Earlier, you were caught saying:

Comment 14198 The evidence and natural law points to life on earth starting with a complex LUCA that has evolved into simpler forms to fit a changing environment.

So either speciation has happened or it hasn’t. What is your real opinion, Dave?

DaveScot Wrote:

Nobody could demonstrate, even in 20,000 years of selecting dogs for unique traits, that a new species had arisen.

This is a rather meaningless example because artificial selection removes a lot of the selective pressures that in nature might lead to significant biological change. For instance, consistently feeding our pets tends to make it easier for them to survive and reproduce.

Darn. Well, if you can’t show those anti-Darwinians an instance of speciation then just change the definition of speciation!

I didn’t *change* the definition. Biologists recognize the concept of “species” to be rather tenuous. There is no single, precise definition for “species” because the biological world is so diverse and the methods of reproduction vary so greatly. By suggesting that John’s proposed species definition was too restrictive, I wasn’t moving the goalposts. I was asking him to acknowledge reality.

Testing for capability to produce fertile offspring is often IMPRACTICAL but otherwise it’s the definitive test for a new species and I’m not going to accept any Darwinian apologist notions to the contrary.

I guess Dave will just have to accept that speciation in asexually reproducing species could never be confirmed to his satisfaction since we can’t breed their offspring. So much for ever confirming that Amoeba dubia idea of his.

The simple truth is that obligatory sexual reproduction is incapable of evolution beyond the level of variety or subspecies. I claimed that in 1984 and it has yet to be refuted with a single example. Furthermore, evolution is not occurring now anyway, another of my convictions which has gone unanswered and unrefuted.

It was not my definition of hybrid sterility, it was Dobzhansky’s. You Darwinians are scared to death of any testable criterion for your mysticism. When fact encounters ideology, ideology invariably carries the day. It is true for the Darwimnps and the Fundies alike. They are both fantasizing and have been since 1859.

If the Darwinians were really interested in the truth they would not have stopped testing their silly naive infantile hypothesis. Instead they stopped when they were behind and they have remained behind ever since. It is a scandal, a disgrace and, above all, a hoax.

Dave’s idea about Amoeba dubia is testable. Why doesn’t some Darwinian big shot give it a test? In a word - FEAR, fear of the truth. The truth is that primitive forms, to the extent that they have been examined, are crawling with gene complexes that had been assumed to be of recent origin. I mentioned an example in the PEH paper with the planula larvae of the coral Acropora. In other words, evidence for the PEH has already been disclosed, direct irrefutable evidence.

The PEH is also being supported by chromosome studies which show very clearly that simple rearrangement of existing information can produce profound genotypic and phenotypic effects, some thing Goldschmidt recognized 65 years ago.

To paraphrase Hillary Clinton, Darwinism is a vast left-wing conspiracy, a conspiracy of silence and denial of an enormous and growing literature that will never be reconciled with the Darwinian fairy tale.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for neoDarwinism.

John A. Davison

Comment # 19263

John A. Davison Wrote:

Comment #19263 Posted by John A. Davison on March 8, 2005 01:22 AM The simple truth is that obligatory sexual reproduction is incapable of evolution beyond the level of variety or subspecies.

So you, a former professor of biology, say that unless a dog gives birth to a cat that you won’t accept evolution.

By the nature of evolution a parent species ALWAYS evolves into a subspecies by your definition of a subspecies.

If we go with the definition that you asked for of a species that can not breed with its parent species and produce fertile offspring, then we have given you examples of that. You then ignore the examples claiming they are “subspecies” FFS what you want won’t ever happen. Homo Sapian is a sub species of Homo heidelbergensis. Homo heidelbergensis is a sub species of Homo ergaster. Homo ergaster may be a sub species of Homo habilis or Homo rudolfensis, they might be sub species of Australopithecus afarensis or Australopithecus africanus.

But compair Homo Sapian to Australopithecus afarensis or Australopithecus africanus and claim that we are the same species then your smoking some back crack.

Deal with it JAD, you asked for evidence, you where provided with multiple examples that met the definition by which you asked for evidence. The fact that you ignore evidence that was common scientific knowledge when you where writing papers on spotting patterns of frogs 40 years ago is very sad.

If Wayne wants to equate his purely imaginary subspeciation with creative evolution that is his choice. I am a little more demanding than that.

Incidentally it is not Sapian, it is sapiens. The Genus is properly capitalized, not the species except in plant taxonomy where it may be.

I don’t know where you got the notion that I ever said we were the same species with Lucy. You must be smoking crack or, more likely, shooting up heroin. Also please edit you posts before poking the Post button. You are getting incoherent.

John A. Davison

JAD, don’t make me start spell checking your comments, you have your grammar problems to I’ve noticed and to date I haven’t brought up any examples as I don’t see how it is relevant to what we are trying to discuss. I think you’ll notice that the large majority of the time I do use the proper case and in the situation of the extra “s” I most likely was equating it to a population so a plural was used to represent a population of a species. Sorry if you are never supposed to use a plural form of a species name.

Hmmm just as a test I looked at your first post Comment # 15120

John A. Davison Wrote:

Comment #15120 Posted by John A. Davison on February 7, 2005 08:59 AM … Wilhelm Grimm, the brothers Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin also were the coauthors of an enormously popular fairy tale now known far and wide as neoDarwinian evolution.

“coauthors” should be “co-authors”

Comment # 15151

John A. Davison Wrote:

Comment #15151 Posted by John A. Davison on February 7, 2005 11:31 AM Back when evolution was actually occurring Mendelian mutations and Natural Selection were not invloved anyway. All real and tangible evidence pleads that evolution WAS an internally driven process in which the only coneivable role for the environment was to serve as a trigger for predetermined potentialites which had previously been latent.

“invloved” should “involved” “conievable” should be “conceivable” “potentialites” should be “potentialities”

Shall I go on? Trust me we don’t want to make this into a war or grammar checking because my friend you will loose. The fact is you asked for an example of speciation in which the parent and child populations could no longer breed fertile offspring. A few of us provided that now you say Comment # 19371

John A. Davison Wrote:

Comment #19371 Posted by John A. Davison on March 9, 2005 11:47 AM If Wayne wants to equate his purely imaginary subspeciation with creative evolution that is his choice. I am a little more demanding than that. …

The speciation events are not imaginary. They are very well documented and meet the definition you asked use to go by. What is imaginary is your notion that they exists.

So where are you moving your definition of a new species to today?

Surely you understand that population that splits off from its parent population could be classed as a “sub species” for a period of time. At what point do you class s population a new species and not a “sub species” or “variety”? You’ve moved the goal post already so I’m sure that this isn’t hard for you to do again. It will give you more chances to ignore data that fits the definitions that you request we use.

I don’t feel like repeating myself. You’ll find my response elsewhere here at Panda’s Thumb. I just finished with it. Look around. Read and enjoy. My browser is working better now. I’m tired and need my rest.

John A. Davison

JAD we know you repeat yourself.…its your favourite past time. We know you keep asking of proof of speciation based on Dobzhansky definition and we keep giving you examples, not only Drosophila, and you just keep asking saying they are still Drosophila. Yet they match your definition of speciation, which you say they are just a “sub species” or “variety”. Perhaps for once you don’t feel like repeating yourself because you don’t want to get caught moving the goal post again? Surely not! You, sir, are immune to that along with evidence.

Your PEH has a more holes then Swiss cheese, no research to back it up, and just smells from all the twisting/quote mining you do to try to support it. The only people that pay attention to it are big tent creationist but they’ll support anything as long as it is against evolution even if it disagrees with their beliefs.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 1, column 112, byte 112 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

Ed Darrell…

“Whether the two closely related fruit fly populations the scientists studied - Drosophila mojavensis and Drosophila arizonae - represent one species or two is still debated by biologists.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/[…]/3790531.stm

Thinking you are right doesn’t make it so.

Ed

If you are going to define as a species every little variant that you find there is nothing I can do for you. I still stick to the physiological definition offered by Theodosius Dobzhansky. Two forms will be considered to be separate species if their hybrid is sterile. Now if this criterion is not applied experimentally then no conclusions are in order. That is why there is no evidence that Darwin’s finches are not all one species. Indeed, field observations support that they are all one species as known intervariety crosses have been observed and the offspring are fertile and genetically fit. You talk about moving the goal posts, that’s all the Darwinians know how to do. They are clutching at straws in a last ditch effort to rescue their silly hypothesis from certain oblivion. That is also why they stopped testing their hypothesis years ago. The cowards got tired of failure. Finches are among the most easily domesticated wild birds and if the Darwimps were really interested in the truth they would have performed Dobzhansky’s acid test years ago. I have no respect for any of them, especially professed atheist snake oil salesmen like Richard Dawkins. This is “Darwin’s last stand.” Get used to it.

“Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for neoDarwinism.”

John A. Davison

Comment # 19449

John A. Davison Wrote:

Comment #19449 Posted by John A. Davison on March 10, 2005 07:23 AM … I still stick to the physiological definition offered by Theodosius Dobzhansky. Two forms will be considered to be separate species if their hybrid is sterile.

Once agian let us show you Some More Observed Speciation Events

Two strains of Drosophila paulistorum developed hybrid sterility of male offspring between 1958 and 1963. Artificial selection induced strong intra-strain mating preferences. (Test for speciation: sterile offspring and lack of interbreeding affinity.)

Dobzhansky, Th., and O. Pavlovsky, 1971. “An experimentally created incipient species of Drosophila”, Nature 23:289-292.

There it meets your requirement that the hybrid be sterile. Will you ignore this or move the goal post. You do both so often it is like guessing heads or tails. Perhaps you should say “See it happened back in 1963 and I said evolution only happened in the past. More evidence that my PEH is correct!”

Now have you called the FBI on me yet? Comment # 16458

John A. Davison Wrote:

Comment #16458 Posted by John A. Davison on February 16, 2005 01:54 AM … You better keep your traps shut about my sources or I’ll turn you all in to the FBI as security risks …

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on March 3, 2005 1:32 PM.

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