Sunday, November 4, 2007

Night on the Town

Friday night a couple of friends and I received an after-hours tour of one of my favorite places in the world, the American Museum of Natural History. It's really nice to tour the museum when there are no screaming kids running around. One of the highlights was a trip to the roof where we had a view much like the one above (I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera). The other highlight was viewing the hominan phylogeny now including the purported newest member, Homo floresiensis in the Hall of Human Origins. Since the first reports of the little man; some have suggested that it is a clear cut case of microcephaly and over-eager anthropologists. There has been a lot of back and forth on this hypothesis, but if in fact the skull is that of a new human species, it doesn't look anything like that of the more recent hominids. Actually you have to go back to Australopithecus before you really see something that looks similar to H. floresiensis. Now wouldn't that be stunning; a new genus of hominids contemporaneous with Homo ~20k years ago!

John Hawks has a superb series of posts on H. floresiensis.

Top photo by ezola.

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