Homo floresiensis as an outgroup?

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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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One Comments

  1. I read somewhere that the Indonesian government does not allow access to these remains by non-Indonesian researchers for political reasons. This, of course, makes it more difficult to research this issue. This reminds me of the “Kenniwick man”, research on which was also suppressed by native Americans, again for political reasons. 
    The truth may be out there, but it seems that many people are afraid of the truth.