Tiny Humans Found in Palau

More cryptic hominid stuff.

In recent years, remains of tiny humans have been excavated on the island of Palau. The remains are from 1,400-2,900 years ago. These people were 3-4 feet tall!

Curiously, the researchers decided that these were Homo sapiens, possibly because they have some features that were unique to Homo sapiens. Nevertheless, some of their features are outside of the human range, and that included more than height. They shared some features with Flores Man of Indonesia. The researchers suggested that all of these features are simply a result of insular dwarfism, a trend on islands in which large things tend to get smaller in some cases. They suggested that Flores Man also is a Homo sapiens with insular dwarfism.

However, the Palau Pygmy brains are so small that they are outside the range of modern Homo sapiens. In fact, the brain is the size as would be expected in a Homo Erectus. Their total weight was 69-92 pounds!

At the moment, it is unclear if these Palau Pygmies are Homo sapiens or not. They may well be, for they are much more human than Flores Man.

However, I do not think that Flores Man is a Homo sapiens with insular dwarfism. For instance, reports of the Ebu Gogo in the modern era (almost certainly Flores Man living until the late 1800’s) stated that they were not very intelligent, they did not seem to have full human language (they were described as language-poor), and one of the reasons they were kidnapping human children was they hoped to learn how to make fire from them. From that description, it does not seem that they were fully human (Homo sapiens). Since Flores Man is not fully human, the legends back up the theory.

DNA tests on the Palau pygmies has not been done. It will years to chip the skeletons of the stone walls of the cave. There has been no DNA testing on Flores Man either. I believe that they were not able to get any, but I could be wrong. For some reason, you can’t always get DNA out of a skeleton for unknown reasons.

All of this brings us to the point of what exactly is a human being or Homo sapiens anyway? If these tiny pygmies are Homo sapiens, it really stretches the definition of the species.

A while back, Aborigines were said to be non-Homo sapiens. This has been abandoned now probably in light of PC, but Aborigines are very strange.

There is an old skull from Kow Swamp, Australia that looks like Homo Erectus. It has been called Homo sapiens, but I am not sure why they did that. It’s clearly an ancestor of the Aborigines. Modern Aborigines of today are said to retain Erectus features in their skulls. Probably they bred in with some Erectus types somewhere along the way. In particular, Aborigines have a brow ridge, a primitive feature in which there is a bone over one’s eyebrows that projects outward.

The old line was that we are all Homo sapiens because we can all breed. That’s not so good. We bred with Denisova and Neandertal too, but they are separate species.

It’s actually fairly common for different species to breed and even produce viable young. This brings us back to the “species question” in science. There is a longstanding debate in science over what is a species and what is not. No widely accepted definition has yet been agreed on, and the debate rages on. It’s similar to the “language question” debate in linguistics, except it’s a lot less stupid (Linguistics incredibly says that there is no such thing as a language in a linguistic sense and all such distinctions are political)

There are reports of “little people” all down through time. Much of it may well be mythology, but some of it is based on truth. If they are found, and some of them will be, some of them will turn out to be relict hominids like Flores Man, and others will turn out to be just some really freaky Homo sapiens.

References

Berger LR, Churchill SE, De Klerk B, Quinn RL. 2008. Small-Bodied Humans from Palau, Micronesia. PLoS ONE 3(3): e1780.

8 Comments

Filed under Aborigines, Anthropology, Linguistics, Micronesia, Pacific, Physical, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Science

8 responses to “Tiny Humans Found in Palau

  1. slashfrac

    “The old line was that we are all Homo sapiens because we can all breed. That’s not so good. We bred with Denisova and Neandertal too, but they are separate species.”

    1) Neanderthals ARE HUMAN. Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.
    2) The “old line” is the best definition of species there is. What’s yours? “Oh, but they look so different! I don’t feel like they can be part of our species!” If any DNA or morphological difference between two populations was large enough to warrant classification as a separate species, that difference would also lead to infertility. If it doesn’t clearly it’s not a big enough of a difference. Besides, one tiny DNA difference could have major consequences, and many differences could have little. With morphology, a small difference could hide huge genetic differences, and a major morphological difference could exaggerate small genetic differences. None of that is clear-cut. Then there’s the fact that the breeding definition doesn’t apply to microorganisms. So what? Species can be simply a way of classifying sexual organisms. I don’t see any pressing need for a one-size-fits-all definition.

    “A while back, Aborigines were said to be non-Homo sapiens. This has been abandoned now probably in light of PC, but Aborigines are very strange.”

    Let’s just say you make an Aborigine friend. You like your friend, you have a lot in common, and voila you no longer consider the friend to be part of a separate species. Point is, subjective definitions are no good. They then end up being decided by personal opinion or the political machinations of the day, whether PC or Nazi.

    • Check Wikipedia. It is controversial whether or not Neandertal is a subspecies of us or a separate species. Denisova is regarded as a separate species, even though they bred with us.

      Spotted owls and barred owls breed and produce viable offspring. Separate species.

  2. Nikephoros

    None of the Kow Swamp skulls looks really like erectus. They are just archaic Sapiens with some artificial skull deformation, there’s nothing else about them.

  3. ren

    Robert Lindsay is a layman blogger. He doesn’t know sufficient physical anthropology, historical linguistics, economics, etc., to be taken as seriously on these matters.
    Just so the readers should know. I come here for amusement.. reading some of the banterings, which has certain amounts of intelligent analysis but not professionalism or objectivity.

    • Ok Ren, you’re banned. You like to come here for amusement? Interesting. Because you won’t be coming here anymore.

      Head on off to some professional site then.

    • All right, I’m banning you Louis. You can bash me on Bigfoot all you want, but leave my anthropology stuff alone.

      You’ve been riding on the edge for quite some time now. Read the Comments Rules. You’ve been violating them for some time now.

  4. Julio

    Well I think you are right in some points about that.. I have an exam about human evolution tomorrow and I find really interesting the recent discovers in Palau. Watching the craneum, I also do not doubt that they are Homo sapiens, and Homo floresienses either, although Ive been always sceptic about H. floresiensis…

  5. Amelia H

    I understand that one explanation of the unusual facial features of the Indigenous people of Australia is that they have descended from neanderthals, as the facial profile is very similar. I don’t think they have been omitted from anthropological debates for any reasons relating to prejudice, simply through ignorance. They are most definetely human (same DNA structure, as well as being able to produce fertile offspring) and the classifcation of Indigenous people in Australia as non-human was historically for political gain and to give the settlers/invaders of Australia free license to shoot and kill Indigenous persons under the flora and fauna act. Perhaps if you wiki the history regarding this it might give you greater insight into why they are so ‘strange’ as you say.

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