The recent discovery of the 18,000 year old Homo florensis, a 3’3” tall hominid with the cranial capacity of a chimpanzee, has sparked considerable debate among evolutionary anthropologists. Unlike modern humans (including short-statured pygmies) who have large cranial capacities (1200+ cc), the diminutive florensis may have been producing relatively advanced Paleolithic tools with a cranial capacity of only 350cc, about half that of the earliest documented Paleolithic humans and 30% that of the modern Homo sapiens who were distributed over Indonesia at that time. Numerous explanations have been presented to explain the paradox of small brain and sophisticated tools: The fossils did not make the tools; The fossil was pathological; Small brains are not necessary for sophisticated tool making, etc. This paper presents several alternative hypotheses relating to primate tool-use, energetics and brain function to help resolve this issue.
|Presenter:||Charles Edwards (Faculty)|
|Time:||1:45 pm (Session III)|