Although it is unclear whether these [fishbones] are directly related to the earliest period of human activity, their presence in all stratigraphic deposits ... suggests that fishing in Palau has a greater antiquity than indicated by our preliminary analysis from the uppermost strata.
Athens, J. S. and J. V. Ward. 2001. Palaeoenvironmental evidence for early human settlement in Palau: The Ngerchau core. In Pacific 2000. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific (C. M. Stevenson, G. Lee, and F. J. Morin, eds.):164–177. Easter Island Foundation, Los Osos: Bearsville Press.
Berger, L.R., Churchill, S.E., De Klerk, B., Quinn, R.L. 2008. Small-Bodied Humans from Palau, Micronesia. PLoS ONE 3(3): e1780.
Clark, G., Anderson, A., Wright, D. 2006. Human Colonization of the Palau Islands, Western Micronesia. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 1: 215-232.
Clark, G.R. 2005. A 3000-Year Culture Sequence from Palau, Western Micronesia. Asian Perspectives 44(2): 349-380.
Fitzpatrick, S.M., Kataoka, O. 2005. Prehistoric Fishing in Palau, Micronesia: Evidence from the Northern Rock Islands. Archaeology in Oceania 40: 1–13.
Fitzpatrick, S. 2002. AMS Dating of Human Bone from Palau: New Evidence for a Pre-2000 BP Settlement. Radiocarbon 44(1): 217-221.
Based on the evidence from Palau, we hypothesize that reduction in the size of the face and chin, large dental size and other features noted here may in some cases be correlates of extreme body size reduction in H. sapiens. These features when seen in Flores may be best explained as correlates of small body size in an island adaptation, regardless of taxonomic affinity. Under any circumstances the Palauan sample supports at least the possibility that the Flores hominins are simply an island adapted population of H. sapiens, perhaps with some individuals expressing congenital abnormalities.
“This looks like a classic example of what can go wrong when science and the review process are driven by popular media,” says Tim White, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley.
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