Today, Pigmeler, who lives in Flores in Indonesia, did not share common genes with "hobbitler" who lived there tens of thousands of years ago.
The modern Pigme village (on the left), the traditional Rampasasa Pigmesi (in the middle) in traditional attire, the Pigme filleri (right), playing in front of the Liang Bua cave with homo floresiensis animation and Homo floresiensis fossils. C: Matilda Luk / Office of Communications, Princeton University
Since the discovery of the "Hobbits", a small-sized human species found in Flores in Indonesia, researchers are wondering if these ancient people are related to the Pigles living in the island today.
A recent survey answered this question: No. The Pigmeler living in the island today is not related to ancient hobbits (scientific name Homo floresiensis).
The researchers say that the modern Pigmelerin genomes in Flores have DNA sequences from other ancient human relatives (Denisovals and Neanderthals) but do not carry evidence of gene flow with other archaic hominins.
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Scientists first discovered the remains of Homo floresiensis in the cave of Liang Bua in Flores in 2003. According to the head writer of the research Serena Tucci, Pigmeler who lives very close to this cavern today accepts this cave as sacred.
"This cave is a really important part of Pigmeler's life. They believe that the souls of their ancestors lived in this cave. It is possible to find food left in the cave. This is a piece of their culture. "
Scientists began cooperating with them to sort and analyze the genomes of 32 adults to learn more about Pigmeler's genetic history, after researching and knowing about Pigmeles in Flores Island. The scientists worked with two translators to communicate with them. One of the translators tried to translate from English to Indonesian and the other from Indonesia to the local language.
The Liang Bua cave, where Homo Floresiensis (Hobbit) fossils are found, is very close to the area where modern Pigmeles live. C: Gludhug A. Purnomo; Pradiptajati Kusuma
However, modern peasants can not only search for "hobbit" DNA fragments because scientists can not disassemble DNA found in the bones of Homo floresiensis. Instead, they use a new technique in the Pigmeler's DNA to search for any archaic genetic sequence that can not be associated with a known ancient human species.
The researchers discovered that the Flores Piglets had 0.8% Denisovian ancestors and had slightly less Neanderthal ancestors than the other Eastern Asians. However, there were no chromosomal regions with unknown origins in the Pigmelerin genomes, which meant that Pigmeler had no Homo floresiensis gene in their ancestors.
"Genetically, it's not much different from other populations in that region of the world," says research co-author Richard Green.
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"This finding provides new insights into our understanding of old human species," says Mark Collard, a professor of Human Evolution Studies and archeology not included in the survey.
"We seem to be looking at a scenario where the modern human population has left Africa about 100,000 to 70,000 years ago and has begun the process of settlement in Europe and Asia. But when these people meet with Neanderthals and Denisovals and when they are mating, they do not mate with hobbits. "
"This indicates that the migrating modern man does not accept the hobbits as potential partners and that they are placed through direct or indirect competition."

Long and short

Hobbits were much shorter than today's Pigmel. Homo floresiensis (Hobbits) is about 1.1 meters in height while Flores Piglets are about 1.45 meters in length.
Both groups are likely to be small, depending on the so-called "island effect". Some animals evolve to be smaller over time (probably because they can eat less in the island, it is advantageous to be smaller) and other animals evolve to be larger (perhaps because of the lack of predators). Flores, for example, was once home to dwarf fillets. There are also giant rats (Papagomys armandvillei) on the island.
The pigmell seems to have benefited from this short length advantage. For example, the research team found that Pigmeler had a high prevalence of short-neck related genetic variants.

Modern Indonesians are about 1.6 meters long, modern Flores Piglets are about 1.5 meters long, and Homo floresiensis is about 1 meter long. C: Courtesy of Serena Tucci / Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University
In fact, it means that the Pigmeler is not short due to genes from an archaic homin. Instead, they were shrinking over time due to selective pressures in the island environment.
Green, "This means that gene variants are present in the common ancestors of Europeans and Flores Piglets. They act on this variation of variation that is already present in the popula- tion, shortening it, "he says.
"But I'm less convinced of this argument," says Collard.
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"Paleoanthropologists thought the hobbits came from the descendant of Homo erectus, a large-bodied hominin, but recent studies have challenged hypotheses and suggested that instead of hobbits, they were the grandchildren of one of the small-bodied early human species. If the second hypothesis is true then we may not be looking at a kind of island dwarfism, at least not in terms of size, when the Hobbits are concerned. "
The researchers plan to return to Flores Island to share their findings with the Pigmeler who lives there.
"They were very excited to participate in the research. Now we are trying to make a new journey to bring the results to them. "
Source: archaeology


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