The Search for Hominins in Southeast Asia

 Anthropology, Asia, Human Ancestors, paleoanthropology  Comments Off on The Search for Hominins in Southeast Asia
Jun 292018
 

A well-rounded bigfoot researcher usually holds an interest in various aspects of anthropology and paleoanthropology.  After all, it is these disciplines that will eventually tell us how sasquatches fit into the larger scheme of human evolution.  Through these interests, I have found a number of noteworthy blogs and news sources that bring up interesting tidbits that directly tie into the search for relict hominoid populations, though even the authors of these blogs may not realize it.  

The article below is from an paleoanthropologist named John Hawks and details interesting discoveries from Indonesia and the Philippines.  Recently, stone tools were found in the northern Philippines that date back over 700,000 years.  Homo sapiens (your species) only arrived on the island about 100,000 years ago, but somebody was making tools long before that.  The thought was that it had to be from a Homo erectus, well-known from the Indonesian area from a number of fossils, including the type specimen commonly referred to as “Java Man.”  

The certainty of this claim has now been called into question.  In 2007 a metatarsal bone was unearthed from Callao Cave in the Philippines that was remarkably small, but a near-perfect match for a metatarsal from Homo floresiensis, popularly known as the Hobbit species, found on the nearby island of Flores.  Could the metatarsals belong to a far-flung population of Homo floresiensis?  If so, could the stone tools that predate Homo sapiens‘ arrival by half a million years also belong to Homo floresiensis?

This all ties back into sasquatch in a roundabout way.  Bigfoots are not the only unknown hairy hominoid reported in the world.  There are a couple different types in Indonesia alone, one of which, called the Ebu Gogo, is reported right from the same island where Homo floresiensis fossils were found.  This would strongly suggest that Ebu Gogo, if real, are in fact just relict forms of Homo floresiensis.  If fossils of Homo floresiensis are verified from the Philippines, they could be found elsewhere, depending on how widely dispersed the species was.  Could it be that the commonly reported “Brown Jacks” of Australia (short, hairy bipeds that are distinctly different than Yowie, according to the aboriginal people living there) are just more relict Homo floresiensis?

This kind of thing keeps me up at night.  Read the article so you can lose some sleep too.  

This is where scientists may find the next hobbits

New discoveries in the Philippines suggest that the mysterious Homo floresiensis may have been far from alone

Great archaeological detective stories start with unexpected discoveries in unusual places.

In May, an international team of scientists led by Thomas Ingicco revealed new archaeological findings from Kalinga, in the northernmost part of Luzon, Philippines. Until now, scientists have mostly assumed that the Philippines were first inhabited by modern humans, only after 100,000 years ago. But the artifacts unearthed by Ingicco and coworkers were much older, more than 700,000 years old.

They didn’t find any hominin fossil skeletons, but the stone tools and the butchered remains of a rhinoceros show that somebody lived on this island long before modern people evolved in Africa.

Luzon was never connected to the Asian mainland, even when sea level was at its lowest during the Ice Ages. To get there, ancient hominins had to float. Who were they, and how did they get there?

The hobbit connection

Luzon isn’t the first deepwater island to produce such ancient evidence. In 2003, Indonesian and Australian archaeologists uncovered skeletal remains and ancient tools on the island of Flores. The bones were so strange, so primitive, that scientists named a new species, Homo floresiensis.

Most people know them by their nickname, the “hobbits.”

The best-known fossil specimens from Flores come from Liang Bua cave, where they are between around 100,000 and 60,000 years old. Those bones include LB1, a skeleton which had a tiny brain, a small body, elongated feet and toes, and apelike wrist bones.

Scientists called her “Flo”, and she was like nothing they had ever seen. The discovery gave rise to debates that are still raging, 15 years later. Who were the ancestors of the hobbits, and how did they reach Flores? We still don’t know for sure, and the mystery has only deepened since 2004.

To read the rest of the article, click this link.

More on the Sulawesi Tool Makers

 Anthropology, Asia, Human Ancestors  Comments Off on More on the Sulawesi Tool Makers
Feb 102017
 

Signs of a tsunami? Ancient tools from the island of Sulawesi show that human ancestors island-hopped around Southeast Asia, perhaps illuminating the origins of the ancient tiny humans called hobbits. – Photo by Erick Setiabudi

A new article published in Nature details the latest developments in the study of mysterious stone tools discovered on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.  The makers of these tools remains unknown and is pondered in a previous blog article on this site.  

This discovery is pertinent to the study of bigfoot for several reasons.  First of all, at least three species of unknown hominoids are reported throughout Indonesia.  One fits the description of the orang pendek on Sumatra which can be speculated to be a type of bipedal orangutan.  The other is more manlike, but smaller, and is referred to as the ebu gogo on the island of Flores.  This form is probably a relict form of Homo floresiensis.  The last of the three commonly reported forms fits the description of the North American sasquatch, and is in fact present in the folklore of Sulawesi where the tools were found.  

While it is unlikely that the larger, sasquatch-like form is responsible for these tools, the study of pre-modern humans and our relatives should always be encouraged.  It is within this framework that the sasquatch will eventually be recognized by science.  Though paleoanthropology is a newer science, it will certainly help provide a foundation for the subject of bigfoot and other unknown hominoids in the near future.  

For interested readers, the best book (by far) to detail the possible unknown hominoids found in the folklore of Southeast Asia is Images of the Wildman in Southeast Asia: An Anthropological Perspective by Gregory Forth.  It is detailed, scientific, and open-minded while remaining skeptical.  For any serious student of wildmen in that part of the world, I cannot recommend this book enough.  

 

Archaeologists dug deep in Sulawesi, excavating 10 meters down. Photo by Dida Yurnaldi

Ancient tools may shed light on the mysterious ‘hobbit’

The “hobbit” had neighbors. Back in 2004, researchers announced the discovery of this tiny, ancient human, which apparently hunted dwarf elephants with stone tools on the Indonesian island of Flores 18,000 years ago. Its discoverers called the 1-meter-tall creature Homo floresiensis, but skeptics wondered whether it was just a stunted modern human. In the years since, researchers have debunked many of the “sick hobbit” hypotheses. Yet scientists have continued to wonder where the species came from.

Now, an international team originally led by the hobbit discoverer reports stone tools, dated to 118,000 to 194,000 years ago, from another Indonesian island, Sulawesi, likely made by another archaic human—or possibly by other hobbits. “It shows that on another island we have evidence of a second archaic early human,” says paleoanthropologist Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who was not involved with the work. The discovery makes the original hobbit claim appear more plausible, he says, by suggesting that human ancestors may have island-hopped more often than had been thought.

After international debate over the hobbit’s origins, co-discoverer Michael Morwood—then an archaeologist at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia—set out to search other islands from which the tiny humans may have come. Java—more than 800 kilometers west of Flores but with a chain of islands in between—was already known to be the ancient home of the human ancestor H. erectus, a globe-trotting species that dates as far back as 1.7 million years ago. But Morwood instead set out for Sulawesi, 400 kilometers to the north, because powerful ocean currents sweep southward from this island toward Flores. Researchers had already found some simple stone tools on Sulawesi, but they couldn’t date the artifacts because they were found on the ground rather than buried with datable minerals.  

Click this link to read the rest of the article.

May 222014
 
An orang pendek cast collected on July 14, 2013.

The Orang Pendek Project has been an amazing project to work on, but it has not been without its setbacks and frustrations.  Some of these frustrations arise from incomplete documentation or lost data.  After all, the project spans three continents and two languages.  That’s not even to mention the cultural differences that sometimes cause confusion or other complications.

This cast is a great example of these complications.  There was a track investigation on July 14, 2013, and several photographs of a footprint in the ground were recorded that day.  The cast seen above came with the bundle of data sent by my Sumatran contact that serves as a middle-man.  However, the cast cannot be from the footprint pictured in the ground; it’s the wrong foot!

We apparently have some missing data somewhere, but I will still record this footprint as from the date above.  Perhaps it is another footprint from the same line of prints?  Perhaps it’s from another date altogether?  I do not know, and am unlikely to ever know.  I do know that as the project proceeds, the documentation is getting better and better.  Hopefully this sort of error will be avoided in the future.

I present the data, fuzzy as it may be, for your enjoyment.

Click here to read more about this print, and to see more photographs.