Monday, April 27, 2009

Homo floresiensis as an outgroup?   posted by Razib @ 4/27/2009 07:16:00 PM

That's what this piece in The New York Times seems to be implying. In other words, the various classes of H. erectus might be a sister clade to H. floresiensis, instead of the latter being derived from a branch of the erectine lineages (as Neandertals and our own species are). The reference to "primitive" features and atavism though is likely to confuse the general audience, are the characteristics of the Hobbits really that much less derived than our own in relation to the last common ancestor? And I really wish someone would just do a poll of paleoanthropologists; they're the only ones with the knowledge base to assess the different hypotheses, but it seems like coalitional politics makes it so that the "consensus" is whatever the last anthropologist that the reporter talked to says it is.

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