Both modern man (Homo sapiens), the Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis ) and the Denisovans (Homo sapiens denisova) share a common ancestor (Homo heidelbergensis). From all three species we have been able to collect their DNA. Modern humans all have bits of DNA of the Neanderthals and the Denisovans burried within their own DNA.
|[Skulls of Homo floresiensis and Homo sapiens]|
A modern pygmy population evolved short stature independently of the extinct Homo floresiensis species that lived on the same island tens of thousands of years earlier, a study reports. Are they related? Scientists took DNA samples from 32 of these villagers and studied their DNA.
"They definitely have a lot of Neanderthal," said Serena Tucci, lead author. "They have a little bit of Denisovan. We expected that, because we knew there was some migration that went from Oceania to Flores, so there was some shared ancestry of these populations."
But there were no chromosomal 'bits' of unknown origins. While it is not certain that Homo floresiensis and the modern pygmies from flores are related, it is certain is that there's is no indication of gene flow from the Homo floresiensis into people living today.
Tucci and her colleagues analyzed the Flores pygmy genomes with respect to height-associated genes identified in Europeans, and they found a high frequency of genetic variants associated with short stature.
Dramatic size changes in animals isolated on islands is a common phenomenon, often attributed to limited food resources and absense of predators. In general, large species tend to get smaller and small species tend to get larger on islands. At the time of Homo floresiensis, Flores was home to dwarf elephants, giant Komodo dragons, giant birds and giant rats, all of which left bones in the Liang Bua cave.
Their results show that insular dwarfism arose independently at least twice on Flores Island, she said, first in Homo floresiensis and again in the modern pygmies.
 Tucci et al: Evolutionary history and adaptation of a human pygmy population of Flores Island, Indonesia in Science – 2018