Canadian Scientist: Tiny Homo Floresiensis Hominins Still Living In Indonesia
In 2004, the scientific world was shaken by the discovery of fossils from a tiny species of hominin on the Indonesian island of Flores. Labeled Homo floresiensis and dating to the late Pleistocene, the species was apparently a contemporary of early modern humans in this part of Southeast Asia.
Photo Insert: The book appears to be more of an ethnographic report than a scientifically-grounded proof that H. floresiensis exists until today.
The diminutive hominin resembled australopithecines and even chimpanzees, claimed anthropologist Gregory Forth in an essay for The Scientist Digest (TS Digest) April 2022 issue.
Forth had heard tales of humanlike creatures, some still reputedly alive although very rarely seen, during his work on the island 20 years ago. In the words of the H. floresiensis discovery team’s leader, the late Mike Morwood of the University of Wollongong in Australia, descriptions of these hominoids “fitted floresiensis to a T.”
Not least because the newly described fossil species was assumed to be extinct, I began looking for ways this remarkable resemblance might be explained. The result is a book, Between Ape and Human, available in May 2022.
Forth’s book has nothing to do with fossils but on the folklore of the Lio people who inhabit the island and who say that the animal (as they describe the purported H. floresiensis) “is remarkably like a human but is not human.”
Forth marshals the reports of sightings by more than 30 eyewitnesses as good enough to write a book, just as many have dabbled with Yeti, sasquatch, and the Loch Ness monster and have written dozens of books about them. He concluded that “the best way to explain what they told me is that a non-sapiens hominin has survived on Flores to the present or very recent times.”
“Lio folk zoology and cosmology also include stories of natural beings, specifically humans, transforming permanently into animals of other kinds. And they do this, in part, by moving into new environments and adopting new ways of life, thus suggesting a qualified Lamarckism.
At the same time, Lio distinguish humans from nonhuman animals in much the same way as do modern Westerners, that is, not just on morphological grounds but by attributing complex expressions of culture, language, and technology exclusively to humans,” Forth stressed.
In the end, the book appears to be more of an ethnographic report than a scienfically-grounded proof that H. floresiensis exists until today.
Incidentally, this Flores island inhabitant is about the same size of the H. luzonensis, a species in the Cordillera whose existence was based on the toes and several bones from only three individuals.
They lived in the general area of the Agta, a population that is typically shorter that the peoples of Northern Philippines.