1. bookVolume 84 (2021): Issue 3 (September 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
24 Jan 2008
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Paleospecies as cognitive construct: The meme of “Homo floresiensis”

Published Online: 01 Oct 2021
Page range: 317 - 336
Received: 12 May 2021
Accepted: 31 Aug 2021
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
24 Jan 2008
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

Creation and subsequent abandonment of a number of earlier species considered human ancestors: Eoanthropus dawsoni, Hesperopithecus haroldcooki, Homo gardarensis and Ramapithecus punjabicus is presented using cases from the history of science. This review indicates that the fossil evidence for these species has been questionable from the beginning but that mental images – memes – they invoked were attractive to students of human evolution and as such persisted even if not confirmed by further finds, with new research still being disputed. Against this background the status of the recent construction of the hominin species “Homo floresiensis” is discussed showing that despite dubious interpretations of the objective data and a relatively long time of non-confirmation due to paucity of newly discovered skeletal remains, the “species” still exists in minds of scholars and in the scientific literature extending into textbooks.

Keywords

Alarie KR. 2012. The Peculiar Case of Homo floresiensis: A New Perspective on Hominin Migrations. Available at: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-Peculiar-Case-of-Homo-floresiensis-%3A-A-New-on-Alarie/be2beab1ef0e9d-610e1af364e189d2f04eb151a9 Search in Google Scholar

Alcuin F. 790. Disputatio Pippini cum Albino. Illinois Stud. Lang. Lit. 24 (1939). Tr. gillianspraggs.com 2006. Search in Google Scholar

Andrews P. 1971. Ramapithecus wickeri mandible from Fort Ternan, Kenya. Nature 231 (5299): 192–4. Search in Google Scholar

Baab KL, McNulty KP. 2009. Size, shape, and asymmetry in fossil hominins: the status of the LB1 cranium based on 3D morpho-metric analyses. J Hum Evol 57:608–22. Search in Google Scholar

Baab KL, Falk D, Brown P, Richtsmeier JT, McNulty K, Hildebolt CF, Prior FW, Smith KE, Jungers W. 2015 A re-evaluation of the Down syndrome diagnosis for LB1 (Homo floresiensis). Am J Phys Anthrop 156:74. Search in Google Scholar

Balzeau A, Charlier P. 2016. What do cranial bones of LB1 tell us about Homo floresiensis?. J Hum Evol 93:12–24. Search in Google Scholar

Bednarik RG. 2015. The First Mariners. Bentham Science Publishers. Search in Google Scholar

Brown P, Sutikna T, Morwood MJ, Soejono RP, Saptomo EW, Awe Due R. 2004. A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia. Nature 431(7012):1055–61. Search in Google Scholar

Bröste K, Fischer-Møller K, Pedersen PO. 1944 The mediaeval Norsemen at Gardar: anthropological investigation. Meddelelser om Grønland 89(3): 1–62. Search in Google Scholar

Brumm A, Van Den Bergh GD, Storey M, Kurniawan,I, Alloway BV, Setiawan R, Setiyabudi E, Grün R, Moore MW, Yurnaldi D, Puspaningrum MR. 2016. Age and context of the oldest known hominin fossils from Flores. Nature 534(7606):249–53. Search in Google Scholar

Dart RA. 1925. The Taungs skull. Nature 116(2917):462. Search in Google Scholar

Dawkins R. 2016. The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Search in Google Scholar

De Klerk B. 2013. Size variation and body proportions in an isolated Holocene-aged population of Hominids from Palau, Micronesia and its impact on our understanding of variation in extinct Hominids. PhD diss., University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Search in Google Scholar

Détroit F, Mijares AS, Corny J, Daver G, Zanolli C, Dizon E, Robles E, Grün R, Piper PJ. 2019. A new species of Homo from the Late Pleistocene of the Philippines. Nature 568(7751):181–6. Search in Google Scholar

Eckhardt RB.1972a. Hominoid Dental Variation And Hominid Origins. PhD diss. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Search in Google Scholar

Eckhardt RB. 1972b. Population genetics and human origins. Scientific American 226(1):94–103. Search in Google Scholar

Eckhardt RB. 1973. Gigantopithecus as a hominid ancestor. Anthropol Anz1: 1–8. Search in Google Scholar

Eckhardt RB. 1975. Gigantopithecus as a hominid. In: Paleoanthropology, morphology and paleoecology. The Hague: Mouton. 105–27. Search in Google Scholar

Eckhardt RB. 2000. Human Paleobiology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Search in Google Scholar

Eckhardt RB, Henneberg M, Weller AS, Hsü KJ. 2014. Rare events in earth history include the LB1 human skeleton from Flores, Indonesia, as a developmental singularity, not a unique taxon. PNAS 111(33): 11961–6. Search in Google Scholar

Eckhardt RB, Chavanaves S, Kukorowski AN, Henneberg M. 2016. Dinaledi Chamber hominins do not support hypothesis of early African Homo ancestry for “Homo floresiensis” taxon based on LB1 specimen. Am J Phys Anthrop (Supp.) 62:135. Search in Google Scholar

Frayer DW. 1976. A reappraisal of Ramapithecus. Yrb Phys Anthrop 18:19–30. Search in Google Scholar

Galik K, Senut B, Pickford M, Gommery D, Treil J, Kuperavage AJ, Eckhardt RB. 2004. External and internal morphology of the BAR 1002’00 Orrorin tugenensis femur. Science 305(5689):1450–3. Search in Google Scholar

Gee H. 2013. The Accidental Species, Misunderstandings of Human Evolution. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Search in Google Scholar

Gould SJ. 1980. Piltdown revisited. Nat History 88(3):86–97. Search in Google Scholar

Greenfield LO. 1975.A comment on relative molar breadth in Ramapithecus. J Hum Evol 4(3):267–73. Search in Google Scholar

Gregory WK. 1927. Hesperopithecus apparently not an ape nor a man. Science 66(1720): 579–81. Search in Google Scholar

Gregory WK, Hellman M. 1923. Notes on the Type of Hesperopithecus Harold Cookii Osborn. J Dental Res 5(2):9–25. Search in Google Scholar

Henneberg M, Eckhardt RB, Chavanaves S, Hsü KJ. 2014.Evolved developmental homeostasis disturbed in LB1 from Flores, Indonesia, denotes Down syndrome and not diagnostic traits of the invalid species Homo floresiensis. PNAS 111(33): 11967–72. Search in Google Scholar

Henneberg M, Thorne A. 2004. Flores human may be pathological Homo sapiens. Before Farming 4:2–4. Search in Google Scholar

Hrdlicka A. 1935. The Yale fossils of anthropoid apes. Am J Sc 169:34–40. Search in Google Scholar

Ingicco T, van den Bergh GD, Jago-On C, Bahain JJ, Chacón MG, Amano N, Forestier H, King C, Manalo K, Nomade S, Pereira A. 2018. Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago. Nature 557(7704):233–7. Search in Google Scholar

Jacob T, Indriati E, Soejono RP, Hsü K. Frayer DW, Eckhardt RB, Kuperavage AJ, Thorne, A, Henneberg M. Pygmoid Australomelanesian Homo sapiens skeletal remains from Liang Bua, Flores: population affinities and pathological abnormalities. PNAS 103(36):13421–6. Search in Google Scholar

Kjærgaard PC. 2014. Inventing Homo gardarensis: Prestige, Pressure, and Human Evolution in Interwar Scandinavia. Science in Context 27(2):359–83. Search in Google Scholar

Kubo D, Kono RT, Kaifu Y. 2013. Brain size of Homo floresiensis and its evolutionary implications. Proc Roy Soc B: Biological Sciences 280(1760): 20130338. Search in Google Scholar

Larick R, Ciochon RL. 2015. Retracted: Early hominin biogeography in Island Southeast Asia. Evol Anthrop: Issues, News, and Reviews 24(5):185–213. Search in Google Scholar

Mijares AS, Détroit F, Piper P, Grün R, Bellwood P, Aubert M, Champion G, Cuevas N, De Leon A, Dizon E. 2010. New evidence for a 67,000-year-old human presence at Callao Cave, Luzon, Philippines. J Hum Evol 59(1):123–32. Search in Google Scholar

Minteer P. 2013 The lost cousins of Homo sapiens in Asia and the South Pacific Blogs, Scientific American. Available at: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/expeditions/the-lost-cousins-of-homo-sapiens-in-asia-and-the-south-pacific/. Search in Google Scholar

Morwood MJ, Jungers WL. 2009. Conclusions: implications of the Liang Bua excavations for hominin evolution and biogeography. J Hum Evol 57(5):640–8. Search in Google Scholar

Osborn HF. 1922. Hesperopithecus, the first anthropoid primate found in America. PNAS 8(8):245. Search in Google Scholar

Pilbeam D, Meyer GE, Badgley C, Rose MD, Pickford MHL, Behrensmeyer AK, Shah SMI. 1977. New hominoid primates from the Siwaliks of Pakistan and their bearing on hominoid evolution. Nature 270(5639):689–95. Search in Google Scholar

Simons EL. 1961. The phyletic position of Ramapithecus. Postilla 57:1–9. Search in Google Scholar

Thomson KS. 1991. Marginalia: Piltdown Man: The Great English Mystery Story. American Scientist 79(3):194–201. Search in Google Scholar

Van den Bergh GD, Kaifu Y, Kurniawan I, Kono RT, Brumm A, Setiyabudi E, Aziz F, Mor-wood MJ. 2016. Homo floresiensis-like fossils from the early Middle Pleistocene of Flores. Nature 534(7606):245–8. Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo