TOK: Are Homo floresiensis a separate species or remains of a diseased homo sapiens?: Nathalie

TOK: The Little People of Flores

Posted by Nathalie Istanto in Biology SL on Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Are Homo floresiensis a separate species or remains of a diseased homo sapiens?

Based on the video in PBS on Homo floresiensis, I think that they are a separate species. It is highly improbable that the Homo floresiensis are a diseased homo sapiens because of the shape of their brain cavity. It does not look like a normal human’s brain cavity, which meant that the skull found on Flores is unlikely to be a human’s.

There might be a small chance seeing that a certain disease could reduce the brain size, known as microencephaly. However, I think that there are more than one Homo florensiensis alive during that time, and the probability that they all had the same disease affecting them the same way over a few thousand years is highly unlikely. I think that the Homo floresiensis might act like human in some ways, which might lead to some people thinking that they are part of a diseased homo sapiens.

The Homo floresiensis built bridges and are able to catch animals. It also seemed that they lived together in caves. This shows some capability for them to think before they act, which is similar to humans in a sense, though not as advanced. A smaller brain cavity does not mean that they are less advanced. If the disease were to affect the brain, wouldn’t it affect their brain capability too? Yet, the Homo floresiensis were able to use tools. Their small size is theorized to be from island isolation, which leads to them growing smaller to make use of what limited resources they have in that island. I just knew that species adapt to a smaller size in an isolated island overtime, although it makes sense as they want to use as little resource as they can.

From the video, I disagree with the scientist that said that the Ebu Gogo does not exist. I think that there might be a small chance that they still exist, but they might be hiding somewhere in the jungle or caves of Flores. It might be that they feel threatened by the Homo sapiens because of their smaller size. It might also be that their behavior differs to our behavior, which is another indication of them being a separate species.

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