In DepthHuman Origins

Likely hobbit ancestors lived 600,000 years earlier

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Science  10 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6291, pp. 1260-1261
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6291.1260

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  • Short Longevity of Hobbit Ancestors
    • Ji-Huan He, heihuan@suda.edu.cn, National Engineering Laboratory for Modern Silk, College of Textile and Clothing Engineering, Soochow University, China

    Short Longevity of Hobbit Ancestors

    Ji-Huan He

    National Engineering Laboratory for Modern Silk,
    College of Textile and Clothing Engineering,
    Soochow University
    199 Ren-ai Road, Suzhou 215123, China
    Email: 980383686@qq.com hejihuan@suda.edu.cn
    Tel: 86-13913152427

    A hot discuss was appeared when a 1-meter-tall ancient human nicknamed "the hobbit" living 600,000 years earlier was found[1]. Hereby I argue that hobbit’s longevity was about 47 years, considering harsh environment they lived 600,000 years ago, individual’s actual life span was about 30 years or less.

    According to the Kleiber’s allometric scaling law[2], life span scales to the 1/4 power of the animal's mass.
    L ~M^1/4
    where L is life span, M is the animal’s mass.
    For hobbit and human, the mass in the above scaling law can be replaced by height:
    H ~M^3/4
    where H is height of hobbit or human. By a simple calculation, I predict that

    Lhobbit/Lhuman=(1/1.70)^3/4=0.67

    where I assume that the average height of human being is 1.70 meters. If the average life span for human being is 70 years, hobbit’s longevity is predicted to be about 47 years.

    References
    [1] Elizabeth Culotta, Likely hobbit ancestors lived 600,000 years earlier, Science, 352(6291)(2016) pp. 1260-1261 DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6291.1260...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
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  • RE: Coastal Dispersal Model

    Thanks for this. I agree with the authors that Homo floresiensis is likely an island form (e.g. reduction of body and especially brain size) of Homo erectus or a close relative. All this seems to confirm the “coastal dispersal model” (Stephen Munro 2010 "Molluscs as ecological indicators in palaeoanthropological contexts" PhD thesis Austr.Natl.Univ. Canberra). Our Pleistocene ancestors (archaic Homo) did not disperse intercontinentally walking or running over the open grasslands as traditionally believed (although this is anatomically and physiologically impossible and paleo-environmentally improbable, google e.g. “econiche Homo”), but simply followed African and Eurasian coasts and rivers, walking and wading bipedally and parttime diving for waterside, littoral and shallow-aquatic foods (e.g. shellfish are richest in brain-specific nutrients such as DHA, e.g. Stephen Cunnane 2005 "Survival of the fattest" World Scient.Publ. NJ ), even colonizing islands overseas: not only Flores, but also Crete, Cyprus etc.

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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