Monday, April 20, 2009

Did humans learn toolmaking from hobbits?

The modern humans whose remains have been recovered from the island of Flores appear to have made tools by flaking volcanic tuff and chert very much like the H. flores, or "hobbits," that preceded them. In this provocative article, Elizabeth Culotta of ScienceNOW reports on a study suggesting that, on this island at least, the precursor species developed the technique and the H. sapiens copied it from them.
COMMENT: There is, of course, some argument in the scientific community that all the humans on the island have been modern ones and the hobbits are based on misinterpretation of the fossils. I'll add my usual comment that, if anyone cares what I think (maybe my mother does), I'd say that so far the separate-species advocates have the upper hand, but the case can't be considered settled until we have another cranium that looks like the LB1 specimen.

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