Life science can be interesting too.
So in the ongoing melodrama of Flores Man, a species of very diminutive human-like people who lived as recently as 18,000 years ago, a new story today (see story in VOA) says they had advanced brains. The news story has the lead scientist, who says a "model" of the brain was construced based on the boundary conditions given by the morphology of the skull, describing the brain as supporting advanced skills like language and fire building. There is also a skeptic who says brain size is quite important, and a grapefruit sized brain probably couldn't be quite that advanced. Then the story tries to say something about how "some" people think this might be evidence of parallel evolution, not just miniaturization. This is probably more far fetched. It seems unlikely that some apes wandered onto the island and evolved into small human-like people. It is much more likely that some fairly recent ancestor of modern humans got stranded on the island and the species got smaller over many generations. That is not to say they didn't evolve to become more person-like during that time too, so maybe the answer is more in the middle, which is usually the case.
Posted by .brian at 3/04/2005 06:17:00 PM