Small variety of humans found in Micronesia

I found this on Anthropology net. Bones from 1500 – 3000 years ago were found in caves on the Rock Islands of Palau in Micronesia. That’s only about 1600 km north of Flores, where H. floresiensis was found. According to the site,

The Palau fossils are of small people, similar in size to the Flores hominins. Preliminary analysis of more than a dozen individuals, including a male weighing about 43 kg and a female weighing about 29 kg, document that these were tiny.

… these individuals were simply small H. sapiens adapted for life on a small island.

Below: H. sapiens, skull from Palau, H. floresiensis

normal, Palau, Flores - image from National Geographic

The lead author, Lee R. Berger, was kayaking around the island when he found two caves littered with bones. The article is here: “3000 Year Old Small Body Humans in Palau, Micronesia.”

The height of the skull and other bone proportions show that these were modern humans; however, they share some features, such as relatively large teeth, with H. floresiensis. Those features might be simply the result of size reduction.

I can do no better than to echo the author:

…the paper is published in PLoS One, which is an open access journal. That means you can download the original report and read it for yourself for free. I really recommend you do, this seems like one of the more significant paleoanthropological finds for 2008. Here’s the citation:

Berger, L.R., Churchill, S.E., De Klerk, B., Quinn, R.L., Hawks, J. (2008). Small-Bodied Humans from Palau, Micronesia. PLoS ONE, 3(3), e1780. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001780

National Geographic will be airing a show about the bones next Monday.

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