The origins and persistence of Homo floresiensis on Flores: Biogeographical and ecological perspectives

Dennell, Robin W., Louys, Julien, O'Regan, Hannah J. and Wilkinson, David M. (2014) The origins and persistence of Homo floresiensis on Flores: Biogeographical and ecological perspectives. Quaternary Science Reviews, 96 98-107. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.06.031


Author Dennell, Robin W.
Louys, Julien
O'Regan, Hannah J.
Wilkinson, David M.
Title The origins and persistence of Homo floresiensis on Flores: Biogeographical and ecological perspectives
Formatted title
The origins and persistence of Homo floresiensis on Flores: biogeographical and ecological perspectives
Journal name Quaternary Science Reviews   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0277-3791
1873-457X
Publication date 2014-07-15
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.06.031
Open Access Status
Volume 96
Start page 98
End page 107
Total pages 10
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon Press
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The finding of archaeological evidence predating 1 Ma and a small hominin species (Homo floresiensis) on Flores, Indonesia, has stimulated much research on its origins and ancestry. Here we take a different approach and examine two key questions – 1) how did the ancestors of H. floresiensis reach Flores and 2) what are the possibilities for estimating the likelihood of hominin persistence for over 1 million years on a small island? With regard to the first question, on the basis of the biogeography we conclude that the mammalian, avian, and reptilian fauna on Flores arrived from a number of sources including Java, Sulawesi and Sahul. Many of the terrestrial taxa were able to float or swim (e.g. stegodons, giant tortoises and the Komodo dragon), while the rodents and hominins probably accidentally rafted from Sulawesi, following the prevailing currents. The precise route by which hominins arrived on Flores cannot at present be determined, although a route from South Asia through Indochina, Sulawesi and hence Flores is tentatively supported on the basis of zoogeography. With regards to the second question, we find the archaeological record equivocal. A basic energetics model shows that a greater number of small-bodied hominins could persist on Flores than larger-bodied hominins (whether H. floresiensis is a dwarfed species or a descendent of an early small-bodied ancestor is immaterial here), which may in part explain their apparent long-term success. Yet the frequent tsunamis and volcanic eruptions in the region would certainly have affected all the taxa on the island, and at least one turnover event is recorded, when Stegodon sondaari became extinct. The question of the likelihood of persistence may be unanswerable until we know much more about the biology of H. floresiensis.
Keyword Flores
Homo floresiensis
Sulawesi
Rafting
Tsunamis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 1 August 2013

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Earth Sciences Publications
Official 2015 Collection
 
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