Reconstructing fossils from broken bits is what palaeontologists do for a living, so I imagine that quite a lot can be salvaged. Still, it's really shitty that they should have to do it, and presumably lots of info has been lost for good, especially any chance of DNA.
Thanks for that link, I've wasted most of my day getting sucked into that fascinating text.
Your question is an interesting one. I don't know the answer, and doubt anyone else does. I would assume that floresiensis evolved from ancestors that coloinzed that region of the world, which makes the Andamanese Negrito the closest living representations of the initial founder population.
I'm glad you enjoyed the read. My father is the one who mentioned the Negritos to me, though he was referring to the ones living on the Philippine Islands. He was stationed on the Philippines years ago and remembered them clearly.
I have been somewhat following this floresiensis discovery and wondered why none of these small-statured people were mentioned at all. Especially since so many of them are found in that same area. Perhaps, it's simply too early for speculations of that sort. I'm sure it's been (and being) considered by researchers.
I beleive that despite the similarities in stature, H. floresiensis is still very different. The brain volume is very small compared to modern humans. Hence the hypothesis that it is a different species or a mutation/developmental defect.
Now paleoanthropologists can put a hominid skull in a computed-tomography, or CT, scanner and create a virtual skull that they can split apart any way they want. If they remove that digital skull altogether, they leave behind the outlines of a virtual brain. In 2005 a virtual brain of the one known skull of Homo floresiensis”the three-foot-tall hominid discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores”provided evidence in the ongoing debate about whether the creature represents a separate species or was a human pygmy with a birth defect. The size and shape of the virtual brain lends credence to the separate species theory. Moreover, the brain was not just a simpler version of a human brain. Some regions were smaller than ours, but others were unusually large for such a small hominid, hinting that Homo floresiensis might have been capable of abstract thought and could make complicated plans.
I would think that they would think ... differently.
The areas that are larger than normal would not be consistent with the diseased H. erectus\sapiens hypothesis.
we are limited in our ability to understand by our ability to understand
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ... to share.
Apologies to those who don't have access to the article; you can request a reprint from Dr. Falk's website if you really want. Here's the abstract:
The brain of Homo floresiensis was assessed by comparing a virtual endocast from the type specimen (LB1) with endocasts from great apes, Homo erectus, Homo sapiens, a human pygmy, a human microcephalic, specimen number Sts 5 (Australopithecus africanus), and specimen number WT 17000 (Paranthropus aethiopicus). Morphometric, allometric, and shape data indicate that LB1 is not a microcephalic or pygmy. LB1's brain/body size ratio scales like that of an australopithecine, but its endocast shape resembles that of Homo erectus. LB1 has derived frontal and temporal lobes and a lunate sulcus in a derived position, which are consistent with capabilities for higher cognitive processing.
They're claiming to have found the skeletons of nine more individuals, so either this is a population of homo sapiens with some genetic, or pandemic, pathology (how unlikely this is, I don't know?) or it really is a new species.
It says "skeletal remains" rather than skeletons - which suggests that none of them is even close to complete. Unless they include a skull or at least a few jaws then I don't think that they will be that helpful. And if there had been a skull in reasonable condition I think that that would have been mentioned.