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October 28, 2004 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-28

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 5A

After eons, bones of dwarf cavewoman uncovered

The Associated Press

In a breathtaking discovery, scientists work-
ing on a remote Indonesian island say they
have uncovered the bones of a human dwarf
species marooned for eons while modern man
rapidly colonized the rest of the planet.
One tiny specimen, an adult female measur-
ing about 3 feet tall, is described as "the most
extreme" figure to be included in the extended
human family. Certainly, she is the shortest.
This hobbit-sized creature appears to have
lived as recently as 18,000 years ago on the
island of Flores, a kind of tropical Lost World
populated by giant lizards and miniature ele-
She is the best example of a trove of frag-
mented bones that account for as many as
seven of these primitive individuals. Scientists
have named the new species Homo floresien-
sis, or Flores Man. The specimens' ages range
from 95,000 to 12,000 years old.
The discovery has astonished anthropolo-
gists unlike any in recent memory. Flores Man
is a totally new creature that was fundamental-
ly different from modern humans. Yet it lived
i until the threshold of recorded human history,

probably crossing paths with the ancestors of
today's islanders.
"This finding really does rewrite our knowl-
edge of human evolution," said Chris String-
er, who directs human origins studies at the
Natural History Museum in London. "And to
have them present less than 20,000 years ago
is frankly astonishing."
Flores Man was hardly formidable. His
grapefruit-sized brain was about a quarter the
size of the brain of our species, Homo sapiens.
It is closer in size to the brains of transitional
prehuman species in Africa more than 3 mil-
lion years ago.
Evidence suggests Flores Man made stone
tools, lit fires and organized group hunts for
Just how this primitive, remnant species
managed to hang on is unclear. Geologic evi-
dence suggests a massive volcanic eruption
sealed its fate some 12,000 years ago, along
with other unusual species on the island.
Researchers say the perseverance of Flores
Man smashes the conventional wisdom that
modern humans began to systematically crowd
out other upright-walking species 160,000
years ago and have dominated the planet alone

for tens of thousands of years.
And it demonstrates that Africa, the
acknowledged cradle of humanity, does not
hold all the answers to persistent questions of
how we came to be.
"It is arguably the most significant discov-
ery concerning our own genus in my lifetime,"
said anthropologist Bernard Wood of George
Washington University, who reviewed the
research independently.
Discoveries simply "don't get any bet-
ter than that," proclaimed Robert Foley and
Marta Mirazon Lahr of Cambridge University
in a written analysis.
To others, the specimen's baffling combina-
tion of slight dimensions and coarse features
bears almost no meaningful resemblance
either to modern humans or to our large,
archaic cousins.
They suggest that Flores Man doesn't
belong in the genus Homo at all, even if it was
a recent contemporary. But they are unsure
how to classify the species.
"I don't think anybody can pigeonhole this
into the very simple-minded theories of what
is human," anthropologist Jeffery Schwartz
of the University of Pittsburgh. "There is no

biological reason to call it Homo. We have to
rethink what it is."
Details of the discovery appear in Thurs-
day's issue of the journal Nature.
Researchers from Australia and Indonesia
found the partial skeleton 13 months ago in a
shallow limestone cave known as Liang Bua.
The cave, which extends into a hillside for
about 130 feet, has been the subject of scien-
tific analysis since 1964.
The female skeleton and fragments from
the six other individuals are being stored in
a laboratory in Jakarta, Indonesia. The cave,
which now is surrounded by coffee farms, is
fenced off and patrolled by guards.
Near the skeleton were stone tools and animal
remains, including teeth from a young stego-
don, or prehistoric dwarf elephant, as well as
fish, birds and rodents. Some of the bones were
charred, suggesting they were cooked.
Excavations are continuing. In 1998, stone
tools and other evidence found on Flores sug-
gested the presence 900,000 years ago of
another early human, Homo erectus. The tools
were found a century after the celebrated dis-

Now, researchers suneest H. erectus spread
to remote Flores and throughout the region.
perhaps on bamboo rafts. Caves on surround-
ing islands are the target of future studies.
they said.
Researchers suspect that Flores Man prob-
ably is an H. erectus descendant that was
squeezed by evolutionary pressures.
Nature is full of mammals living in margin-
al, isolated environments that gradually dwart
when food isn't plentiful and predators aren't
On Flores, the Komodo dragon and other
large meat-eating lizards prowled. But Flores
Man didn't have to worry about violent human
This is the first time that the evolution of
dwarfism has been recorded in a humaw rela-
tive, said the study's lead author, Peter Brown
of the University of New England in Austra-
Scientists are still struggling to identify its
jumbled features.
Many say its face and skull features show
sufficient traits to be included in the Home
family that includes modern humans. It would
be the eighth species in the Homo category.

covery in the 1890s of big-boned
fossils in eastern Java.

H. erectus

Student struggles with cocaine addiction, then rehab

Continued from page 1A
short. But he continued to snort it recre-
ationally until the spring of 2003.
From Recreation to Addiction-Spring 2003
Things were different that year for Steve,
who now lived on Greenwood Street -
notorious for partying - and he was bored
without classes, he said. He increased his
party lifestyle and with it, cocaine use.
"Coke had a unique high that I liked. It
allowed me to stay up all night and talk to
anyone I wanted to. We had parties at my
house three nights a week. I was drinking
and smoking weed three times a day, and
yeah, maybe I just wanted something dif-
ferent," Steve said.
At the height of his cocaine abuse, Steve
said he was doing it four or five times a week.
He said he bought $100 of cocaine once every
week and would throw it on the kitchen table
for him and his housemates to share.
"You cut pieces off with a razor blade,
crush it up with a card, then you split it up
into lines. Withdrawal sets in 20 minutes
after the last line," Steve said.
Steve said they would do lines all night, often
ordering more at five or six in the morning. The
cocaine binge often lasted until 10 or 11 in the
morning, when at last Steve would pass out,
exhausted from the night's escapades.
His best friend Trevor watched as
cocaine, once a boredom buster, became a
way of life for Steve.

"There are key warning signs that clue
you in to the ability to tell the difference
between recreational use and addiction.
There is a point where they've crossed the
line, where they don't know the difference
between recreational use and being depen-
dant on the substance," Trevor said.
That spring, Steve was whittling away. In
a few short months, Steve who is 6 feet tal,
said his plummeted from 160 to 130 pounds.
Steve said it made him sick to his stomach to
eat, and shrunk his body tissue.
"I couldn't get out of bed if I didn't do
cocaine first. My addiction to it was greater
than my desire to stop," Steve said.
But it wasn't just Steve's body that was
wasting away with his abuse of cocaine.
A domino affect of destruction spread
through Steve's social circle.
Snow freezes over relationships
Steve said he watched as his relationship
with his girlfriend deteriorated. Although
he was addicted, Steve said he did not want
to drag his girlfriend into a lifestyle of
cocaine use. He stopped her from experi-
menting excessively with cocaine, but
ended up isolated from her.
"I was a mess you know, I was a terrible
boyfriend. At a certain point I preferred
doing cocaine to hanging out with her,"
Steve said.
Steve added that he hung out more with
girls who snorted cocaine and also cheated
on his girlfriend. Eventually, cocaine became
one factor that led him to break up with his

girlfriend of more than nine months.
Trevor was also hit by Steve's drug prob-
lems. He said during that time their friend-
ship was almost nonexistent.
"It's difficult when you have someone as
close to you as a brother that you can't even
have a conversation with, who you've lost
trust with and whose life you're worried
about," Trevor said.
Steve said as his addiction to cocaine
increased, he became less likely to return
his parent's phone calls. Instead he hid
from them behind a cell phone that they
could not longer reach him on.
"He did not have a good relationship
with my parents for a long long time. He
didn't return any of their phone calls. And
he was constantly asking (me) for money,"
said Mark, his twin brother who also
attended the University and wished to be
left unnamed.
Steve said he reached an all-time low
when, he binged on cocaine before going to
his parents house.
"Once I drove home after having done it
all night, I came home at five in the morn-
ing. I woke up to both my parents over me
shaking yelling 'wake up.' I guess it took
like 20 minutes to wake me up - that was
bad, really bad," Steve said.
It was that incident - having his parents
screaming, almost not waking up - that
jolted Steve back to reality. He tried to quit
cocaine for a month in August, but when
school started back up, so did his cocaine
habit. It was then that he realized he needed

drastic help. He withdrew from all of his
classes and he escaped from the University's
party scene and decided to fight for his life.
Rehabilitation... Facing the beast
In the winter semester of 2004, Steve
moved back home. He left his dealers and
friends to begin rehabilitation at Pine Crest
Clinic. At the same time, he enrolled at
Grand Valley State University.
At first Steve said he suffered huge mood
swings, as he quit pot, alcohol and cocaine. He
said he was always on edge and felt miserable.
But eventually he began to feel better
than he had in years, Steve said.
"The first month or two after I quit I
had huge mood swings, but six weeks
after I stopped doing coke, I quit drinking
and weed and de-toxed for 30 days. I felt
a lot better than I had for four years," he
said. Steve attributed much of win against
cocaine addiction to his family, who he said
despite everything supported him through
the ordeal.
"(My parents) definitely weren't happy,
they didn't know why I started but they just
wanted me to get better," Steve said.
After a semester at rehab Steve came
back to the University, for one last semes-
ter to finish up what he started. He said he
wants something good to come out of his
personal struggle with cocaine.
"I think it would be helpful if there was
a visible program on campus that students
could go to if they needed help with a sub-
stance abuse problem," Steve said.

Continued from page I
After the initial announcement. the respective
athletic departments were showered with complaints
from media and fans alike, questioning whether the
sponsorship would hurt the tradition and aura that
surrounds the game.
"The Big House is called Michigan Stadium,"
LSA junior Nick Benson said. "It doesn't have a
corporate name attached to it and that's how we
need to keep the game. It's pure football. It's the
greatest rivalry in sports. and corporate sponsorship
would just really take away from what's going on
down on the field."
The inside of Michigan Stadium is one of the.
few major Division I stadiums that is free of adver-
tising. Martin said the possibility of upsetting that
traditional game-watching environment bothered
many fans.
"Many of (the complaints) were talking about as
much as anything 'Don't mess with Michigan Sta-
dium' in terms of advertising - which wewr
doing anyway," Martin said.
The Nov. 22 meeting between the Wolverines and
the Buckeyes takes place in Columbus this year, and
Michigan is currently tied for first place with Wis-
consin in the Big Ten standings. If Michit4
past Michigan State this weekend and Northw'
on Nov. 13, the game against Ohio State will help
decide a Big Ten title again, something which "the
game" features very often.
"If people want to make money off this game,
that's going to happen," Benson said. "But attaching
some name to it just completely takes away from
what's going on."
Daily staff reporter Donn Fresard
contributed to this report.


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