Before Farming

Modern human behaviour and the implications of small-bodied hominin finds from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia

Before Farming (2005), 2005, (4), 1–6.

Abstract

Recent publications by various authors have presented three alternative views about the taxonomy and anatomy of recently recovered hominin remains from the island of Flores, Indonesia. No matter what the exact taxonomy, Homo floresiensis exhibits an incredible range of complex modern human behaviour for an individual with such a small cranial capacity. If we are to accept that the archaeological material associated with H floresiensis resulted from H floresiensis activity, and that the interpretations of the material by the H floresiensis team are correct, then there will be an enormous impact on current thinking about the evolution of modern behaviour. The interpretations force us to question what defines an archaic or modern human in relation to other creatures and in terms of certain characteristic behaviours that have archaeological signatures. There are profound implications for archaeology as a discipline as well as our understanding of human potential and creativity in relation to brain size and structure.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Ambrose, SH 1998. Late Pleistocene human population bottlenecks, volcanic winter, and differentiation of modern humans. Journal of Human Evolution 34: 623-651. Late Pleistocene human population bottlenecks, volcanic winter, and differentiation of modern humans Journal of Human Evolution 34 623 651 Google Scholar

Barham, LS 2002. Systematic pigment use in the Middle Pleistocene of South-Central Africa. Current Anthropology 43(1):181-190. Systematic pigment use in the Middle Pleistocene of South-Central Africa Current Anthropology 43 181 190 Google Scholar

Bowler, JM, Johnston, H, Olley, JM, Prescott, JR, Roberts, RG, Shawcross, W & Spooner, NA 2003. New ages for human occupation and climatic change at Lake Mungo, Australia. Nature 421:837-840. New ages for human occupation and climatic change at Lake Mungo, Australia Nature 421 837 840 Google Scholar

Brown, P, Sutikna, T, Morwood, MJ, Soejono, RP, Jatmiko, Wayhu Saptomo, E & Due, RA 2004. A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia. Nature 431:1055-1061. A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia Nature 431 1055 1061 Google Scholar

Brumm, A & Moore, M 2005. Symbolic revolutions and the Australian Archaeological Record. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 15(2):157-175. Symbolic revolutions and the Australian Archaeological Record Cambridge Archaeological Journal 15 157 175 Google Scholar

Coolidge, FL & Wynn, T 2005. Working memory, its executive functions and the emergence of modern thinking, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 15(1):5-26. Working memory, its executive functions and the emergence of modern thinking Cambridge Archaeological Journal 15 5 26 Google Scholar

Dennell, R & Roebroeks, W 2005. An Asian perspective on early human dispersal from Africa. Nature 438:1099-1104. An Asian perspective on early human dispersal from Africa Nature 438 1099 1104 Google Scholar

Falk, D, Smith, CHK, Morwood, MJ, Sutikna, T, Jatmiko, Wayhu Saptomo, E, Brunsden, B & Prior, F 2005. The brain of LB1, Homo floresiensis. Science 308:242-245. The brain of LB1 Homo floresiensis. Science 308 242 245 Google Scholar

Gamble, C 1999. The Palaeolithic societies of Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The Palaeolithic societies of Europe Google Scholar

Groves, C 2004. Untitled (Homo floresiensis reaction). Before Farming [online version] 2004/4 article 1:2. Google Scholar

Henneberg, M & Thorne, A 2004. Flores human may be pathological Homo sapiens. Before Farming [online version] 2004/4 article 1:2-4. Google Scholar

Henshilwood, CS & Marean, CW 2003. The origin of modern behaviour: critique of the models and their test implications. Current Anthropology 44(5):627-651. The origin of modern behaviour: critique of the models and their test implications Current Anthropology 44 627 651 Google Scholar

Hopkin, M 2005. The life of a hobbit. Nature 437:934-935. The life of a hobbit Nature 437 934 935 Google Scholar

McBrearty, S & Brooks, AS 2000. The revolution that wasn't: a new interpretation of the origin of modern human behaviour. Journal of Human Evolution 39:453-563. The revolution that wasn't: a new interpretation of the origin of modern human behaviour Journal of Human Evolution 39 453 563 Google Scholar

Mellars, P 2005. The impossible coincidence. A single-species model of the origins of modern human behaviour in Europe. Evolutionary Anthropology 14:12-27. The impossible coincidence. A single-species model of the origins of modern human behaviour in Europe Evolutionary Anthropology 14 12 27 Google Scholar

Morwood, M 2005. The Hobbits of Flores: discovery of a new human species. Murdoch Lecture, Perth, December 2005. The Hobbits of Flores: discovery of a new human species Google Scholar

Morwood, M, Aziz, F, van der Bergh, GD, Sondaar, PY & De Vos, J 1997. Stone artefacts from the 1994 excavation at Mata Menge, West central Flores, Indonesia. Australian Archaeology 44:26-34. Stone artefacts from the 1994 excavation at Mata Menge, West central Flores, Indonesia Australian Archaeology 44 26 34 Google Scholar

Morwood, MJ, O'Sullivan, PB, Aziz, F & Raza, A 1998. Fission-track ages of stone tools and fossils on the east Indonesian island of Flores. Nature 392:173-179. Fission-track ages of stone tools and fossils on the east Indonesian island of Flores Nature 392 173 179 Google Scholar

Morwood, MJ, Soejono, RP, Roberts, RG, Sutikna, T, Turney, CSM, Westaway, KE, Rink, WJ, Zhao, J-x, van den Bergh, GD, Due, RA, Hobbs, DR, Moore, MW, Bird, MI & Fifield, LK 2004. Archaeology and age of a new hominin from Flores in eastern Indonesia, Nature 431: 1087-1091. Archaeology and age of a new hominin from Flores in eastern Indonesia Nature 431 1087 1091 Google Scholar

Morwood, MJ, Brown, P, Jatmiko, Sutikna, T, Wahyu Saptomo, E, Westaway, KE, Due, RA, Roberts, RG, Maeda, T, Wasisto, S & Djubiantono, T 2005. Further evidence for small-bodied hominins from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia, Nature 437:1012-1017. Further evidence for small-bodied hominins from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia Nature 437 1012 1017 Google Scholar

Mulvaney, J & Kamminga, J 1999. Prehistory of Australia. St Leonards: Allen and Unwin. Prehistory of Australia Google Scholar

Rowlett, RM 1999. Fire use. Science 284:741. Fire use Science 284 741 Google Scholar

Taçon, PSC 1999. All things bright and beautiful: the role and meaning of colour in human development. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 9:120-126. All things bright and beautiful: the role and meaning of colour in human development Cambridge Archaeological Journal 9 120 126 Google Scholar

Taçon, PSC in press. Behaviourally modern at 300,000 B. P.: was my ancestor brighter than yours? In Curnoe, D (ed) Modern human origins: Australian perspectives. Canberra: Pandanus Press. Modern human origins: Australian perspectives Google Scholar

Thieme, H 1997. Lower Paleolithic hunting spears from Germany. Nature 385:807-810. Lower Paleolithic hunting spears from Germany Nature 385 807 810 Google Scholar

Thorne, A 1971. Mungo and Kow Swamp: morphological variation in Pleistocene Australians, Mankind 8:85-89. Mungo and Kow Swamp: morphological variation in Pleistocene Australians Mankind 8 85 89 Google Scholar

Thorne, A, Grün, R, Mortimer, G, Spooner, N, Simpson, J, McCulloch, M, Taylo, L & Curnoe, D 1999. Australia's oldest human remains: age of the Lake Mungo 3 skeleton. Journal of Human Evolution 36(6):591-612. Australia's oldest human remains: age of the Lake Mungo 3 skeleton Journal of Human Evolution 36 591 612 Google Scholar

Weber, J, Czarnetzki, A & Pusch, C 2005. Comment on "The Brain of LB1, Homo floresiensis. Science 310:236. Comment on "The Brain of LB1 Homo floresiensis. Science 310 236 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Taçon, Paul