Pharyngula

No more microcephalics

Zimmer describes some of the more recent work on Flores Man — people are still arguing over whether the fossil is of a peculiarly abnormal human with microcephaly, or whether there was a species of ‘miniaturized’ Homo living on the islands of the Pacific. Trying to establish common characteristics of microcephalics is an interesting project, but it doesn’t answer the question. We need more fossils! Among the good news Carl mentions is the report that more excavations will be underway this year.

Comments

  1. #1 jamzik
    January 30, 2007

    I looked at this post, and remembered that this is how I discovered your site. A few years ago you had a great discussion on Flores Man. I’ve kept your site bookmarked ever since. Keep up the good work.

    By the way, there is talk of a so far unexplored large sinkhole at the back of the cave.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21139476-30417,00.html

  2. #2 Sonja
    January 30, 2007

    When I read the title of this post, I thought it was going to be another rant about the Discovery Institute.

  3. #3 S.J. Crockford
    January 30, 2007

    Some of you may be interested in the chapter of my book that I devote to island dwarfing and gigantism, where I specifically discuss the floresiensis issue. My theory for the role of thyroid hormone in vertebrate evolution (including hominins) provides a testable biological mechanism to explain how and why these phenomena occur in so many taxa. You can view the table of contents online at the book website, http://www.rhythmsoflife.ca. The book is based on my PhD dissertation and two peer-reviewed journal articles and was written for lay readers: this topic, however, is unique to the book. Happy to provide a pdf of the dissertation to anyone interested (NB, thyroid hormones are critical regulators of developmental genes, fetal growth, & brain development, as well as post-natal growth and general energy metabolism).

  4. #4 Crudely Wrott
    January 30, 2007

    Bones speak.
    Their’s is a muffled voice that is amplified through repetition. The more fossils, bones, the clearer the voice.

    While reflecting on the micro-structure of bone I am struck by its similarity to the structure of Aero-Gel, or liquid smoke. The stuff used lately to catch small pieces of the solar system. They are both made mostly of spaces between parts; strong, light, and flexible to large degrees.

    I have occasionally observed that theses same qualities seem to inform the sciences as scientific news is published and reaches my eager synapses and I compare new information with that stored in memory. The stories that then emerge are my own personal mythology that serve me as benchmarks and fence lines that delineate the topography. My way of keeping track.

    All of this is predicated on the fact that fieldwork is being done and that people are excited and talking and thinking out loud. Thus I am glad that more digging and more excited people will be digging for the bones of those who came and went before us. Since the bones can speak, would it not be respectful to listen?

  5. #5 cory
    January 30, 2007

    We need more fossils

    Seen an RNC meeting lately?

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