Did Hominin Ever Actually Make Contact With Humans?

  • Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Mar, 31, 2016, 04:16 PM
(Photo : Getty Images) Our ancestors from two million years ago apparently heard things differently than we did. A new study said their hearing abilities were closer to that of chimpanzees.

According to a new research conducted by scientists from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, modern humans might not be the ones that wiped out the hominin.

Initially, hominin were thought to have walked the Earth around 12,000 years ago, outliving Neanderthals and also existing at the same time as modern humans. This is thanks to the finding of a tiny hominin named "Hobbit," or H. floresiensis, in 2003. The team that found it concluded that "Hobbit" lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. After digging up new stratigraphic and chronological evidence, the team realized that "Hobbit" may actually be 60,000 to 100,000 years old.

"At the time of the initial discovery, not enough of the older deposits had been exposed, and this led to an error in the interpretation of how the dates obtained at that time applied to the sediments that contained the hobbit remains," said study co-author Matthew Tocheri.

This finding is significant because it means there is a possibility that "Hobbit" never came in contact with modern humans.

Richard Roberts, an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Wollongong who was also involved in the study, noted, "We dated charcoal, sediments, flowstones, volcanic ash and even the H. floresiensis bones themselves using the most up-to-date scientific methods available. In the last decade, we've vastly improved our understanding of when the deposits accumulated in Liang Bua, and what this means for the age of 'hobbit' bones and stone tools.

"But whether 'hobbits' encountered modern humans or other groups of humans-such as the 'Denisovans'-dispersing through Southeast Asia remains an open and intriguing question," added Roberts.

Tocheri noted the importance of finding out if modern humans ever bumped into hominins. "With the new dating results pushing back that last appearance time of H. floresiensis to 50,000 years ago, it certainly removes the potential amount of time overlap on the island itself," he said. "But we still don't have evidence of modern humans on Flores until about 11,000 years ago. It's clearly a major research question that we are now focused on.

"There should be remains of modern humans somewhere on Flores that are earlier than that. Modern humans just didn't jump over the islands of Southeast Asia to get to Australia by 50,000 years ago. They must have come through islands of Indonesia and it's highly unlikely they skipped Flores," said Tocheri. 



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