The hobbit trap

A review of The Hobbit Trap, a book about the Flores hominid that was released last week which alleges that the Hobbit skeleton shows signs of having gone through dental work.

The Hobbit Trap, The Age, 27 April 2008

Hobbit or not, book tests the tooth of the matter
The Age, 27 April 2008

Does the allegation of the Hobbit having gone through dental work sound ludicrous? If it were true, it would mean that the bones could possibly only have been less than a 100 years old – but I highly doubt that is the case.

Mike Morwood and Peter Brown of the University of New England and Bert Roberts of the University of Wollongong — the Australians in the team that discovered the hobbit — are furious. Already exasperated by the “diseased pygmy” line, their reaction to the dental claim is disbelief. “The claim is a complete fabrication, without any substance,” wrote Professor Brown. “Professor Henneberg is either extremely inexperienced in the way teeth wear in hunter-gatherers and earlier hominins, did not examine the teeth in adequate detail, or is intentionally not telling the truth in order to denigrate the research of others.”

Many academics agree. Professor Colin Groves of the ANU said Professor Henneberg’s claim was “total nonsense”. “There’s no evidence for any of the specimens being a burial. There’s certainly no evidence for dental work … what it is, is an extremely worn tooth.”

But I think this new furore distracts us from the really important question, that is, whether the hobbit is really a new human species or not. And while the Australian discoverers are firmly behind the theory that that hobbit is a separate species – there is a lot of opposition (and sadly, under-reported) to the contrary.

Related Books:
A New Human: The Startling Discovery and Strange Story of the “Hobbits” of Flores, Indonesia
60 Minutes – The Hobbit (June 11; 2006)
Little People And a Lost World: An Anthropological Mystery (Discovery!)

Related Posts

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *