The Primitive Wrist of Homo floresiensis and Its Implications for Hominin Evolution

And finally, the abstract of the homo floresiensis wrist study from Science Magazine. Subscription required for full access.

21 September 2007 (Science Magazine) – And finally, the abstract of the homo floresiensis wrist study from Science Magazine. Subscription required for full access.

The Primitive Wrist of Homo floresiensis and Its Implications for Hominin Evolution
Matthew W. Tocheri, Caley M. Orr, Susan G. Larson, Thomas Sutikna, Jatmiko, E. Wahyu Saptomo, Rokus Awe Due, Tony Djubiantono, Michael J. Morwood, William L. Jungers

Whether the Late Pleistocene hominin fossils from Flores, Indonesia, represent a new species, Homo floresiensis, or pathological modern humans has been debated. Analysis of three wrist bones from the holotype specimen (LB1) shows that it retains wrist morphology that is primitive for the African ape-human clade. In contrast, Neandertals and modern humans share derived wrist morphology that forms during embryogenesis, which diminishes the probability that pathology could result in the normal primitive state. This evidence indicates that LB1 is not a modern human with an undiagnosed pathology or growth defect; rather, it represents a species descended from a hominin ancestor that branched off before the origin of the clade that includes modern humans, Neandertals, and their last common ancestor.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

2 thoughts on “The Primitive Wrist of Homo floresiensis and Its Implications for Hominin Evolution”

  1. I love these types of arguments but frankly I wish there were more specimens available to address these ongoing debates. It’s getting tiresome hearing this wrangling about this single find. The discovery of Homo floresiensis could be one of the great stories in human evolution and hopefully we’ll know more once the original research team gets back to the caves in Flores and to the other islands. Hard to believe, but their work was halted by the Indonesian government at one point further adding fuel to this mess.

    Of course, I have a vested interest in hoping this story has some validity to it, having written a fictional adventure novel called Flores Girl on the recent find. If you are interested, there is more on this ongoing controversy about Homo floresiensis at http://www.floresgirl.com

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