Monday, August 21, 2006


Homo floresiensis - 'No Hobbits in this Shire'

Homo floresiensis hobbit flores (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)University Park, Pennsylvania - The skeletal remains found in a cave on the island of Flores, Indonesia, reported in 2004, do not represent a new species ('Homo floresiensis') as then claimed but are some of the ancestors of modern human pygmies who live on the island today, according to an international scientific team.

The researchers also demonstrate that the fairly complete skeleton designated LB1 is microcephalic, while other remains excavated from the site share LB1's small stature but show no evidence of microcephaly, since no other brain cases are known. Microcephaly is a condition in which the head and brain are much smaller than average for the person's age and gender. It can be present at birth or develop afterwards and is associated with a complex of other growth and skeletal anomalies.

..Jacob and colleagues found four major areas of evidence where the 2004 evaluation was wrong: geographical factors, craniofacial asymmetry, dental traits and postcranial abnormalities. They discuss these areas in today's (Aug. 21) online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS - Astract not yet available). [hobbits]

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