Monday, October 09, 2006

 

Flores' Hobbits Update: New hominid species may be early version of Homo sapiens

Note: An updated (and corrected) news release to this one can be found at "Compelling evidence demonstrates that 'Hobbit' fossil does not represent a new species of hominid"

In 2003, when fossil remains were uncovered in Liang Bua Cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, the discoverers dubbed the remains Homo floresiensis, a new hominid species. But in a new study, published online October 9, 2006 in The Anatomical Record, the official journal of the American Association of Anatomists (AAA), researchers suggest that the remains are, in fact, a Homo sapiens with microcephaly, an abnormally small head. The study is available via Wiley InterScience here [NB Not yet available - a link to the paper will be provided once it appears online].

The main specimen of the remains, dated at about 18,000 years ago, consists of a skull and partial skeleton from a dentally adult individual (LB1). Using femur length to extrapolate height, the stature of the skeleton was estimated to be 106 cm. Other notable features were the absence of a chin in the jawbone and a very small cranial capacity. In addition to LB1, fragments of eight other individuals were found, along with advanced stone tools. The initial conclusion was that Homo floresiensis was a new species, a dwarf derived from Home erectus.

In the current article, Professor Robert D. Martin of The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, and colleagues painstakingly analyze the anatomy of the remains in order to put forth the case that they are Homo sapiens that had suffered from some kind of pathology. [Evolution, Science, Hominin, Hobbit, Indonesia]

Continued at "New hominid species may be early version of Homo sapiens"
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See "Re: Homo floresiensis - 'No Hobbits in this Shire'"

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