|Liang Bua, the cave where Homo floresiensis was found.|
This image was originally posted to Flickr by Rosino (CC-BY-SA-2.0).
Yesterday my Twitter feed lit up with news of a paper (here) that drastically revised the age of these fossils to between 60-100 kya. Briefly there had been slippage of more recent material, including charcoal, into an eroded area where the bones were found. The new study used several methods to obtain the earlier date. Unlike in the original report, these included dating of the bones themselves.
|Skull of Homo floresiensisThis image was originally posted to Flickr (CC-BY-SA-2.0).|
There is a new flurry of speculation about the origin of this species. One idea (discussed here) is that it is derived from Homo erectus (previous post) and its small stature is an example of Island Dwarfism (as seen in pygmy elephants from Flores and pygmy hippopotami from Madagascar).
Flores lies East of the Wallace Line, a water barrier that separates the Southeast Asian and Australasian flora and fauna (previous post). It seems not to have presented a barrier to hominins. The enigmatic Denisovans also crossed the Wallace Line (previous post).