“Homo floresiensis was a distinct Homo species” – 3D analysis

“Important shape differences captured by statistical analysis of the cranium after removing size differences. Healthy modern humans (Top left); modern humans with microcephaly (Bottom left); LB1 (Homo floresiensis) (Top right, shown in purple); and fossil humans belonging to the genus Homo (Bottom right). These images highlight how much taller and rounder the modern human braincase is compared to the other three groups when viewed from the side. More importantly, these images also illustrate how much more similar the LB1 skull is to fossil humans compared to modern humans suffering from microcephaly – a condition that results in a small brain size and therefore skull size – particularly in its low and elongated silhouette. The other two pathological conditions examined in this study, “cretinism” and Laron Syndrome, more closely resemble the healthy modern human condition than any of the other conditions.” – Source: http://commcgi.cc.stonybrook.edu

Stony Brook University has published findings by 3-D analysis of the Homo Floresiensis.   The Small skulls of hominins were discovered in 2003 within a cave on the island of Flores, Indonesia.  The discovery begged the question, was this species’ dwarfism pathological or were they descended from a dwarfed Homo species?

From the press release:

STONY BROOK, N.Y., July 10, 2013 – Ever since the discovery of the remains in 2003, scientists have been debating whether Homo floresiensis represents a distinct Homo species, possibly originating from a dwarfed island Homo erectus population, or a pathological modern human. The small size of its brain has been argued to result from a number of diseases, most importantly from the condition known as microcephaly.

Based on the analysis of 3-D landmark data from skull surfaces, scientists from Stony Brook University New York, the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, and the University of Minnesota provide compelling support for the hypothesis that Homo floresiensis was a distinct Homo species.

The study, titled “Homo floresiensis contextualized: a geometric morphometric comparative analysis of fossil and pathological human samples,” is published in the July 10 edition of PLOS ONE.

Read more at Stoney Brook.edu, click here.

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