Compelling evidence demonstrates that 'Hobbit' fossil does not represent a new species of hominiddence demonstrates that 'Hobbit' fossil does not represent a new species of hominid

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9 October 2006 (EurekAlert) – An upcoming article in the November edition of The Anatomical Record aims to definitively put the debate on the Flores Man to rest.

Compelling evidence demonstrates that ‘Hobbit’ fossil does not represent a new species of hominid

CHICAGO — What may well turn out to be the definitive work in a debate that has been raging in palaeoanthropology for two years will be published in the November 2006 issue of Anatomical Record.

The new research comprehensively and convincingly makes the case that the small skull discovered in Flores, Indonesia, in 2003 does not represent a new species of hominid, as was claimed in a study published in Nature in 2004. Instead, the skull is most likely that of a small-bodied modern human who suffered from a genetic condition known as microcephaly, which is characterized by a small head.

“It’s no accident that this supposedly new species of hominid was dubbed the ‘Hobbit;'” said Robert R. Martin, PhD, Curator of Biological Anthropology at the Field Museum and lead author of the paper. “It is simply fanciful to imagine that this fossil represents anything other than a modern human.” The new study is the most wide-ranging, multidisciplinary assessment of the problems associated with the interpretation of the 18,000-year-old Flores hominid yet to be published. The authors include experts on:

  • scaling effects of body size, notably with respect to the brain: Dr. Martin and Ann M. MacLarnon, PhD, School of Human & Life Sciences, Roehampton University in London;
  • clinical and genetic aspects of human microcephaly: William B. Dobyns, PhD, Department of Human Genetics, University of Chicago; and
  • stone tools: James Phillips, PhD, Departments of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Field Museum.

This is just one of four separate research teams that have recently published evidence indicating concluding that the Flores hominid is far more likely to be a small-bodied modern human suffering from a microcephaly than a new species derived from Homo erectus, as was claimed in the original Nature paper.


Related Books:
Little People And a Lost World: An Anthropological Mystery by L. Goldenberg

Flores hominid: New species or microcephalic dwarf?

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9 October 2006 (The Anatomical Record) – A new study in The Anatomical Record, the journal of American Association of Anatomists strongly suggests that the Flores Man is not a new species of human being, but in fact a Homo Sapiens with microcephaly. Abstract is printed below, subscription required for full access.

Flores hominid: New species or microcephalic dwarf?

The proposed new hominid Homo floresiensis is based on specimens from cave deposits on the Indonesian island Flores. The primary evidence, dated at 18,000 y, is a skull and partial skeleton of a very small but dentally adult individual (LB1). Incomplete specimens are attributed to eight additional individuals. Stone tools at the site are also attributed to H. floresiensis. The discoverers interpreted H. floresiensis as an insular dwarf derived from Homo erectus, but others see LB1 as a small-bodied microcephalic Homo sapiens. Study of virtual endocasts, including LB1 and a European microcephalic, purportedly excluded microcephaly, but reconsideration reveals several problems. The cranial capacity of LB1 ( 400 cc) is smaller than in any other known hominid < 3.5 Ma and is far too small to derive from Homo erectus by normal dwarfing. By contrast, some associated tools were generated with a prepared-core technique previously unknown for H. erectus, including bladelets otherwise associated exclusively with H. sapiens. The single European microcephalic skull used in comparing virtual endocasts was particularly unsuitable. The specimen was a cast, not the original skull (traced to Stuttgart), from a 10-year-old child with massive pathology. Moreover, the calotte does not fit well with the rest of the cast, probably being a later addition of unknown history. Consideration of various forms of human microcephaly and of two adult specimens indicates that LB1 could well be a microcephalic Homo sapiens. This is the most likely explanation for the incongruous association of a small-brained recent hominid with advanced stone tools.


Related Books:
Little People And a Lost World: An Anthropological Mystery by L. Goldenberg