Homo Floriensis was smarter than you think

  • Theres a long article on Hono Floriensis, in New Scientist, behind a paywall. Ill paste the gist of it here


    "

    An early human presence on Flores seemed particularly improbable because of the island’s weird biology. During the 19th century, biologist Alfred Russel Wallace had noted that the islands to the north and west of Flores – including Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali – are typically inhabited by Eurasian species like orangutans and tigers. They are largely absent to the south and east, on Flores and other islands including Sulawesi, Lombok and Sumbawa. Eventually biologists came up with an explanation. In prehistory, sea levels were so much lower that Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali were part of the mainland, but a deep marine trench to the south-east, swirling with strong currents, kept Sulawesi, Flores and their neighbours separate. In other words, snaking through the islands of South-East Asia is an invisible species barrier, now dubbed the Wallace line, that apes and tigers could not have walked or swum across. In places it is narrow: the strait between Bali and Lombok is little more than 20 kilometres across, but remains impassable to large species."


    So what they are saying is How did homo Floriensis get onto that island, if it has neve rbeen possible to cross it by walking or swimming?


    "In the 20th century, it was generally agreed that Eurasian megafauna – species the size of humans or larger – had breached the Wallace line perhaps just twice. First across were elephants, powerful swimmers whose relatives left fossil remains on Flores and elsewhere. Then came H. sapiens, who must have breached the Wallace line en route to Australia around 65,000 years ago."


    So if they couldnt swim or walk there, how did they get there.?


    "We know, for instance, that small monkeys somehow made it across the line to Sulawesi, and clearly they didn’t use boats – in all likelihood they floated over on mats of vegetation. Gerrit van den Bergh at the University of Wollongong in Australia has found stone tools on Sulawesi that are at least 100,000 years old, and thinks this is where the first Floresians came from. Just last month a team announced they had found 700,000-year-old stone tools in the Philippines, offering another possible route."


    "Then there is what has been dubbed the Robinson Crusoe problem. A single individual surviving on an accidental raft couldn’t possibly establish a viable population on a new shore. “To be archaeologically visible, you need thousands of people,” says Bednarik. Even if small animals like monkeys crossed the Wallace line accidentally, it does not follow that humans did so too. And although an accidental raft could carry dozens of small monkeys, it is hard to imagine one able to transport hundreds of people."


    "The conclusion? Early humans wouldn’t have cobbled rafts together on impulse. Building a seaworthy vessel took months of planning, suggesting it was impossible without advanced communication skills. Indeed, earlier this year, the linguist Daniel Everett at Bentley University in Massachusetts used the controversial evidence for ancient seafaring to argue that species like H. erectus must have had abstract language. What’s more, Bednarik’s voyages show that failure, and potentially death, would have been close companions of the ancient mariners’ attempts. He thinks they would have needed persuasive arguments to convince others to commit to such journeys."


    SO ive cut a lot out, the article is too big to copypasta the lot, but the essential conclusions is the they must have crossed deliberately, and to do so would have required a large group effort, and maybe many trips to get enough people over to sustain the population. So that meens they had an advanced language which enabled them to debate and discuss the idea, and agree on an abstract concept of crossing the straits, and that they had tools and advanced boat/raft building skills, 65,000 years ago.








  • Theres a long article on Hono Floriensis, in New Scientist, behind a paywall. Ill paste the gist of it here

    Thanks for the thread, but you must only post a snippet in the future and no more than a few paragraphs. Especially if it's from a site behind a paywall, as it breaches their copyright and is against Rule 1 of this site. (That way, we're all protected!;))


    SO ive cut a lot out, the article is too big to copypasta the lot, but the essential conclusions is the they must have crossed deliberately, and to do so would have required a large group effort, and maybe many trips to get enough people over to sustain the population. So that meens they had an advanced language which enabled them to debate and discuss the idea, and agree on an abstract concept of crossing the straits, and that they had tools and advanced boat/raft building skills, 65,000 years ago.

    Isn't it interesting that over the last decade or so, our understanding of human history has changed enormously? Once there was just one or two ancient human species, now we know there are several with another discovered only last month.


    If, as this article concludes, that humans were far more advanced all that long ago, even the lesser evolved human species, the question I would pose, is, how is possible we evolved from apes then? Apes are still here and can't talk. We can. If these humans were advanced enough to build boats, I don't see how they could be considered a ape like species at all.

    If my post is in this colour, it is a moderator decision. Please abide by it.

  • well we are talkign about Homo branching off 2.8 million years ago, plenty of time to evolve. In that time we acquired all the bits the other primates didnt have - language, abstract thought, weaponry, advanced hunting, farming ,cooking, technology....

  • Agree. Yet our history only seems to be around 10,000 years old. If we were so advanced back then, then I suspect in time, science will unravel, or should that be unwrap, whole swathes of as yet unknown human history.


    If people were building boats 65,000 years ago, then, they were building other things too and these will be uncovered in the end, or at least some evidence that they existed.

    If my post is in this colour, it is a moderator decision. Please abide by it.

  • Agree. Yet our history only seems to be around 10,000 years old. If we were so advanced back then, then I suspect in time, science will unravel, or should that be unwrap, whole swathes of as yet unknown human history.


    If people were building boats 65,000 years ago, then, they were building other things too and these will be uncovered in the end, or at least some evidence that they existed.

    Unlikely IMHO, because they would have been building in wood at best, or stone monoliths. And wood structures, devices or machines ahve long since rotted away. All trace of settlement will have vanished as well. The largest cities last longest, and the oldest we know about is about 5400 BC. And between 65,000 BC and now there has ben three glaciations each which tends to sweep the landscape clean.


    If Homo Florensis did build a boat(s) they were probably more like Thor Hyadals rafts than actual boats.

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