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Small-bodied humans from Palau, Micronesia.

Berger LR, Churchill SE, De Klerk B, Quinn RL - PLoS ONE (2008)

Bottom Line: First, individuals from the older time horizons are small in body size even relative to "pygmoid" populations from Southeast Asia and Indonesia, and thus may represent a marked case of human insular dwarfism.Second, while possessing a number of derived features that align them with Homo sapiens, the human remains from Palau also exhibit several skeletal traits that are considered to be primitive for the genus Homo.These features may be previously unrecognized developmental correlates of small body size and, if so, they may have important implications for interpreting the taxonomic affinities of fossil specimens of Homo.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute for Human Evolution [corrected] Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontology, School of GeoSciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Lee.Berger@wits.ac.za

ABSTRACT

Unlabelled: Newly discovered fossil assemblages of small bodied Homo sapiens from Palau, Micronesia possess characters thought to be taxonomically primitive for the genus Homo.

Background: Recent surface collection and test excavation in limestone caves in the rock islands of Palau, Micronesia, has produced a sizeable sample of human skeletal remains dating roughly between 940-2890 cal ybp.

Principle findings: Preliminary analysis indicates that this material is important for two reasons. First, individuals from the older time horizons are small in body size even relative to "pygmoid" populations from Southeast Asia and Indonesia, and thus may represent a marked case of human insular dwarfism. Second, while possessing a number of derived features that align them with Homo sapiens, the human remains from Palau also exhibit several skeletal traits that are considered to be primitive for the genus Homo.

Significance: These features may be previously unrecognized developmental correlates of small body size and, if so, they may have important implications for interpreting the taxonomic affinities of fossil specimens of Homo.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

A field map of Omedokel Cave.Numbers 100–102 indicate the approximate position of samples of bone collected that yielded successful radiocarbon dates (see Supplementary Data S1). The position of the embedded skull shown in Supplementary Data S5 is indicated.
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pone-0001780-g003: A field map of Omedokel Cave.Numbers 100–102 indicate the approximate position of samples of bone collected that yielded successful radiocarbon dates (see Supplementary Data S1). The position of the embedded skull shown in Supplementary Data S5 is indicated.

Mentions: Exploration of Ucheliungs (Figure 2) and Omedokel (Figure 3) caves in 2006 revealed substantial numbers of fragmentary and complete human remains. Archaeological excavation in a 1 m×1 m×50 cm deep excavation and surface sampling in the interiors of both caves in 2006 and 2007 led to the assembling of a substantial collection of human material (Ucheliungs cave NISP (excavation and surface) >1000, and Omedokel cave NISP (surface) = 87). Based on the abundance of human bone recovered to date, future work should yield thousands of additional fragments and potentially several tens of individuals from each site.


Small-bodied humans from Palau, Micronesia.

Berger LR, Churchill SE, De Klerk B, Quinn RL - PLoS ONE (2008)

A field map of Omedokel Cave.Numbers 100–102 indicate the approximate position of samples of bone collected that yielded successful radiocarbon dates (see Supplementary Data S1). The position of the embedded skull shown in Supplementary Data S5 is indicated.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2268239&req=5

pone-0001780-g003: A field map of Omedokel Cave.Numbers 100–102 indicate the approximate position of samples of bone collected that yielded successful radiocarbon dates (see Supplementary Data S1). The position of the embedded skull shown in Supplementary Data S5 is indicated.
Mentions: Exploration of Ucheliungs (Figure 2) and Omedokel (Figure 3) caves in 2006 revealed substantial numbers of fragmentary and complete human remains. Archaeological excavation in a 1 m×1 m×50 cm deep excavation and surface sampling in the interiors of both caves in 2006 and 2007 led to the assembling of a substantial collection of human material (Ucheliungs cave NISP (excavation and surface) >1000, and Omedokel cave NISP (surface) = 87). Based on the abundance of human bone recovered to date, future work should yield thousands of additional fragments and potentially several tens of individuals from each site.

Bottom Line: First, individuals from the older time horizons are small in body size even relative to "pygmoid" populations from Southeast Asia and Indonesia, and thus may represent a marked case of human insular dwarfism.Second, while possessing a number of derived features that align them with Homo sapiens, the human remains from Palau also exhibit several skeletal traits that are considered to be primitive for the genus Homo.These features may be previously unrecognized developmental correlates of small body size and, if so, they may have important implications for interpreting the taxonomic affinities of fossil specimens of Homo.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute for Human Evolution [corrected] Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontology, School of GeoSciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Lee.Berger@wits.ac.za

ABSTRACT

Unlabelled: Newly discovered fossil assemblages of small bodied Homo sapiens from Palau, Micronesia possess characters thought to be taxonomically primitive for the genus Homo.

Background: Recent surface collection and test excavation in limestone caves in the rock islands of Palau, Micronesia, has produced a sizeable sample of human skeletal remains dating roughly between 940-2890 cal ybp.

Principle findings: Preliminary analysis indicates that this material is important for two reasons. First, individuals from the older time horizons are small in body size even relative to "pygmoid" populations from Southeast Asia and Indonesia, and thus may represent a marked case of human insular dwarfism. Second, while possessing a number of derived features that align them with Homo sapiens, the human remains from Palau also exhibit several skeletal traits that are considered to be primitive for the genus Homo.

Significance: These features may be previously unrecognized developmental correlates of small body size and, if so, they may have important implications for interpreting the taxonomic affinities of fossil specimens of Homo.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus