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Thread: Is homo floresiensis a person?

  1. #1 Is homo floresiensis a person? 
    Time Lord
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    Homo floresiensis AKA "the hobbit" stood about 1m tall. Tiny brain too, though the part responsible for self awareness is approximately human sized. They were game hunters, using relatively advanced stone tools and fire. Homo floresiensis co-existed with homo sapiens on Flores Island until at least 12,000 years ago. The only explanation for how it got to Flores is by raft.

    Interestingly, some ten years before the find, anthropological study of the locals recorded stories of uneasy human coexistence with primitive little babblers: the ebu gogo. Apparently the ebu gogo skulked around humans, wanting stuff, and always murmering in what was assumed to be their own language. They could dumbly parrot human speech. The descriptions of ebu gogo physical appearance and demeanor seem bang on for this later discovered homo floresiensis. As the story goes, some ebu gogo kidnapped a human infant ...to eat... and the already exasperated humans decided to exterminate the ebu gogo. They managed to kill or run off all of them. This was about 100 years ago. Much later than accurate oral records of early contact with the Portugese. I think we'd be insulting the locals to cherry pick just that history matching European experience.

    Suppose we find homo floresiensis surviving in the jungle? And they babble, wave spears, shake their inhuman anatomy in our faces. Then what?

    Are they people?


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  3. #2 Re: Is homo floresiensis a person? 
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Interestingly, some ten years before the find, anthropological study of the locals recorded stories of uneasy human coexistence with primitive little babblers: the ebu gogo. Apparently the ebu gogo skulked around humans, wanting stuff, and always murmering in what was assumed to be their own language.
    do you happen to have a link ?


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3 Re: Is homo floresiensis a person? 
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    do you happen to have a link ?
    Richard Roberts, discoverer of the Hobbit, says local tales suggest the species could still exist


    Also, the original anthropologist, Gert D van den Bergh, reflecting on the find, and possibility of a connection:

    "When I first heard these stories I was a bit skeptical, but the difference with the Ebu Gogo is that the local villagers talk about them as if they were an actual part of the fauna and that they have no supernatural powers."


    Anyway, I guess the chance they're still around - ebu gogo or homo floresiensis, is remote. This thread is more of a philosophical "what if" exercise.

    Are they people?
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  5. #4  
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    i've read alot about this, but i think just like the tasmainian dog we WANT them to still be around i know i would love to see a homo florencsis
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  6. #5 Re: Is homo floresiensis a person? 
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong

    Suppose we find homo floresiensis surviving in the jungle? And they babble, wave spears, shake their inhuman anatomy in our faces. Then what?

    Are they people?
    If they are recognisably moral in their attitudes (not moral as opposed to immoral, but moral as opposed to amoral) then indubitably "yes".

    If not then, IMO (and contra Singer, Dawkins et al), probably not, but am willing to be convinced otherwise.
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  7. #6  
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    I've never heard of these before!

    Are they like Oompa lumpa?

    They're cannibals!
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  8. #7  
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    They're not of our species, so technically it wouldn't be cannibalism... either way. :? Though repugnant just as eating puppies or orangutans is. Or isn't. :?

    I'd like to work that out before society has to and probably commits to some loaded answer that is right for the wrong reasons. Honestly, I'm kinda hoping we did genocide them, as the story goes, because I feel we're unready for his problem.
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