The Foot of Homo Floresiensis and How It Relates to Evolution

Topics: Human, Hominidae, Neanderthal Pages: 2 (483 words) Published: June 3, 2012
During the Pleistocene epoch, or 1.8 million years to 10,000 years ago, Homo floresiensis occupied the Liang Bua, a cave on Flores in eastern Indonesia. They were relatively small people, identical to modern-day dwarfs. But after researching recovered fossils of their bodies scientists realize there are distinct differences; one of these differences happens to be the foot of h. floresiensis. The size of the foot is unusually long compared to their tibia and femur. These proportions have never been seen in other types of humans, or dwarfing humans, but only in some primitive types of apes. This means that h. floresiensis may have ancestors that are something other than humans. Their metatarsals have the same sequence as human feet, however some the bones measure shorter and are differently shaped than modern humans. Tarsals in the h. floresiensis foot have a more protruding look, more similar to African apes; but there are modern human elements as well. The heel of the foot, or calcaneal process, is very pronounced in the fossil being examined, but it is assumed this can vary like most modern humans. They have very little arch in their feet, which would not store elastic energy to be recovered for additional speed. Because of the way these tiny creatures were put together, their bones in their feet took the brunt of walking pressure. H. floresiensis were not made for speed or endurance. This evidence and the author suggests that because h. floresiensis has features of the feet that are unlike any dwarfing human, they may have ancestors that are common with a primitive hominin either at the same time as humans or before. Because this is such a small population it is undetermined if these “hobbits” are modern humans (homo sapiens) with a growth disease, if they evolved from an earlier population of humans, or if they have evolved from a smaller species. Their remains indicate that they were approximately 3 feet, 6 inches tall, and would weigh about...
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