Unique dental morphology of Homo floresiensis and its evolutionary implications

Yousuke Kaifu, Reiko Kono, Thomas Sutikna, Emanuel Wahyu Saptomo, Jatmiko, Rokus Due Awe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Homo floresiensis is an extinct, diminutive hominin species discovered in the Late Pleistocene deposits of Liang Bua cave, Flores, eastern Indonesia. The nature and evolutionary origins of H. floresiensis' unique physical characters have been intensively debated. Based on extensive comparisons using linear metric analyses, crown contour analyses, and other trait-by-trait morphological comparisons, we report here that the dental remains from multiple individuals indicate that H. floresiensis had primitive canine-premolar and advanced molar morphologies, a combination of dental traits unknown in any other hominin species. The primitive aspects are comparable to H. erectus from the Early Pleistocene, whereas some of the molar morphologies are more progressive even compared to those of modern humans. This evidence contradicts the earlier claim of an entirely modern human-like dental morphology of H. floresiensis, while at the same time does not support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis originated from a much older H. habilis or Australopithecus-like small-brained hominin species currently unknown in the Asian fossil record. These results are however consistent with the alternative hypothesis that H. floresiensis derived from an earlier Asian Homo erectus population and experienced substantial body and brain size dwarfism in an isolated insular setting. The dentition of H. floresiensis is not a simple, scaled-down version of earlier hominins.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0141614
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 1
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Hominidae
Homo
Tooth
teeth
Indonesia
Caves
dwarfing
Brain
Deposits
caves
Dwarfism
Dentition
Fossils
fossils
Bicuspid
Body Size
Crowns
brain
Canidae
dogs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Kaifu, Y., Kono, R., Sutikna, T., Saptomo, E. W., Jatmiko, & Awe, R. D. (2015). Unique dental morphology of Homo floresiensis and its evolutionary implications. PLoS One, 10(11), [e0141614]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0141614

Unique dental morphology of Homo floresiensis and its evolutionary implications. / Kaifu, Yousuke; Kono, Reiko; Sutikna, Thomas; Saptomo, Emanuel Wahyu; Jatmiko; Awe, Rokus Due.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 10, No. 11, e0141614, 01.11.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kaifu, Yousuke ; Kono, Reiko ; Sutikna, Thomas ; Saptomo, Emanuel Wahyu ; Jatmiko ; Awe, Rokus Due. / Unique dental morphology of Homo floresiensis and its evolutionary implications. In: PLoS One. 2015 ; Vol. 10, No. 11.
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