Homo floresiensis and Orang Pendek Related?

Rise of the Orang Pendeks
Are Orang Pendek and Homo floresiensis related?

This is certainly not an unreasonable question to ask, especially given some basic and striking facts about the two. Firstly, they both live or lived in the same chain of tropical islands in Indonesia. Secondly, stories about them amongst local people go back for many centuries. Therefore, it is appropriate to consider their  possible symbiosis next to broader evolutionary principles.

In his article, ‘Flores, God and Cryptozoology’, Henry Gee makes the point that up until the 1970’s ‘evolutionary thought was couched in terms of a linear progressive trajectory rising from lower forms of life and culminating in man’. Of course this is not the case, and Gee makes the very good point that ‘human evolution is like a bush not a ladder’. It is only in our very recent history that Homo Sapiens has found himself alone as the only type of human on the planet.

So, with Flores man existing even by conservative estimates  recently as 18,000 years ago (and highly probably much more recently given the local legends), credible speculation as to parallels between the two do become necessary. However, I want to clearly state that in my opinion the two creatures are not the same, for a number of pertinent reasons.

Starting with physical descriptions. Homo floresiensis for example, is conjectured to have been somewhat slight in build physically, and to have stood approximately 3 foot six inches tall. The Orang-Pendek , although not large by stature, (approx 5 feet tall and upwards) has an altogether different more robust physical structure.

Eyewitnesses regularly report its muscular development as being on a par with that of apes like the Chimpanzee. For example, the farmer who saw the Orang-Pendek in his barn given in Tim de Friel’s account last year, described its ‘huge torso’.  I personally have seen evidence of an Orang-Pendek turning over a log that would have taken two or three men to lift, as it appeared to forage for insects as it moved through the jungle. The print , and subsequent hairs found on two occasions, have been analysed as being from an unknown primate. True, the Orang-Pendek does have a ‘human like face’ (as does the Gibbon), but there the similarity ends in terms of physiology.

It is also important to consider behavioural aspects when affecting comparisons. Homo floresiensis clearly used fires for cooking, and had stone tools commensurate with those used by Homo sapiens in the Upper Palaeolithic Tradition. There is no evidence that the Orang-Pendek has any ability to make fires, and its tool use seems at best, commensurate with that of a Chimpanzee. Further, as demonstrated by the concentration of finds in the Ling Bua cave, Homo floresiensis was a sociable creature.

The Orang-Pendek in contrast, seems to be predominantly solitary. Accounts of seeing more than one Orang-Pendek at any one time are very rare. I have no doubt that the Orang-Pendek exists. Indeed, I have gone to some lengths to describe the scientific evidence I have gathered to support that assertion (See Edge Science Magazine, issue 7 ‘A New Primate Species in Sumatra’).

Its is quite clear though that Homo floresiensis and the Orang-Pendek are two very different creatures. One sadly extinct, and one which may be very close to extinction. I will continue to do my best to prevent this!

— Adam Davies.

14 thoughts on “Homo floresiensis and Orang Pendek Related?”

  1. I think the H. floriensis/Orang Pendek connection is certainly plausible. My first encounter with OP in the literature was from “On the Track of Unknown Animals”, the late Bernard Heuvelmanns’ fascinating journey into Cryptozoology.

  2. I saw a new mythical monster just a few minutes ago! Absolutely terrifying! I believe its called the kissy monster, it is about 5 feet tall with brown hair and a terrible odor, very hairy especially down low, and it only wants to kiss tummies! Insatiable need to kiss them, in fact. Watch out guys, its on the loose!

  3. Isn’t the image in this article from the movie trailer for the release of the new “Planet of the Apes” movie?
    sure looks like it, enjoying a little artistic license?

  4. Hello i have tryed to find the contact info for this site and cannot maybe im blind lol.I would like to see if i can get permission to share the articles from this site to another and source it back to here.Please contact me via email and let me know if its ok..

  5. Cro Magnon is Homo Sapiens Sapiens. They are all around us! I don’t know about ‘pure’ Cro Magnon, as it is almost a certainty the Neandertals interbred with us.

  6. I’ve often wondered about the genetics of men like myself, and our relationship gene-wise with these ancient hominids. I myself am extremely hairy, as in my back hair is a thick carpet from my neck on down, as is my chest, with hairy arms, legs and all points in between. I also have very long arms, large feet, big eyes, and other features attributed to Bigfoot or extinct hominids. I jokingly often refer to the Patterson Bigfoot as Great-Grandma Betty..lol..but I seriously do wonder what our genetic connection is with these hominids and creatures like Bigfoot..especially if someone as hairy as me is walking around today. Luckily I like my body hair..otherwise I would lose a fortune buying razors to rid myself of it..lol.

    Great article Adam..and thanks for this website John..it’s my first time here and I am thus far enjoying it. Cheers to both of you. =)

  7. I have heard that certain bones and feature continue to grow for our entire lives. What would the resulting homo-sapien look like if his life span were 800-900 years? Many of our more ancient texts claim life spans were once considerably longer, and I am curious as to what the resulting fossil record would look like if that were to be the case.
    Thank You

  8. If you want to see another type of human, still there may be some left here today if not all ready intermingled with the remainder of us, look up Cro-Magnon in Delarma, Sweden. There were still some in pure form in the late 1950’s. We are now called homo sapien sapiens and the Cro-Magnon are considered as homo sapiens. It intrigues me how somany people even scientists, seem so unaware of this.

    • My fraternal grandparents were from Sweden, and I do have a somewhat heavy brow ridge, so that explains it. I occasionally get an urge to club people too.
      Thanks for the input, Lance. I’ll try to find some sources about that and read up on the subject.

  9. Hi Loren.Thanks for your post.I am aware of the fact that locals have reported them being seen as recently as 100 years ago, but I have very little doubt they they still exist today.The tool and fire use would indicate a level of sophistication that would be easy to trace, even in the jungle.Fires for example, would be easily seen by locals, and any remaining populations quickly tracked down by local hunters.
    I wish it were otherwise, as I would be on the first plane out there!

  10. Please, not “Homo Floresiensis” or “Home Floresiensis” but Homo floresiensis.

    The interrelationship between this species and Orang Pendek has been discussed since 2003, when the Flores hominoids were discovered. There is nothing entirely clear about Homo floresiensis being extinct, as the locals have reported them as recently as a hundred years ago.

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