I got the press release last week but I was out in the field and unable to look through the material, but most of the major science news sites have published what is another confirmation about the Hobbit’s status as a new species, rather than a deformed human relation. A new study to be published in Significance suggests once again that the Hobbit skeleton should be classified as a new species rather. If the journal Significance doesn’t ring a bell, it’s also because it’s a statistics journal by the Royal Statistical Society. I’m publishing here the press release by Wiley, along with links to the other news stories that came out over the weekend. Check out all the hobbit news that has come out on SEAArch here.
photo credit: Ryan Somma
â€œThe geometry of hobbits: Homo floresiensis and human evolution.â€ William Jungers and Karen Baab. Significance; Published Online: November 19, 2009 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2009.00389.x); Print Issue Date: December 2009.
Indonesian ‘hobbits’ are a separate species
The Telegraph, 19 November 2009
‘Hobbits’ Are a New Human Species, According to Statistical Analysis of Fossils
Science Daily, 19 November 2009
The hobbit emerges as a distinct human relative, study contends
Medill Reports, 19 November 2009
Hobbits are indeed a separate species, said researchers
The Prancing Papio, 21 November 2009
21 September 2007 (Science Magazine) – And finally, the abstract of the homo floresiensis wrist study from Science Magazine. Subscription required for full access.
The Primitive Wrist of Homo floresiensis and Its Implications for Hominin Evolution
Matthew W. Tocheri, Caley M. Orr, Susan G. Larson, Thomas Sutikna, Jatmiko, E. Wahyu Saptomo, Rokus Awe Due, Tony Djubiantono, Michael J. Morwood, William L. Jungers
Whether the Late Pleistocene hominin fossils from Flores, Indonesia, represent a new species, Homo floresiensis, or pathological modern humans has been debated. Analysis of three wrist bones from the holotype specimen (LB1) shows that it retains wrist morphology that is primitive for the African ape-human clade. In contrast, Neandertals and modern humans share derived wrist morphology that forms during embryogenesis, which diminishes the probability that pathology could result in the normal primitive state. This evidence indicates that LB1 is not a modern human with an undiagnosed pathology or growth defect; rather, it represents a species descended from a hominin ancestor that branched off before the origin of the clade that includes modern humans, Neandertals, and their last common ancestor.
20 September 2007 (Smithsonian Institution) – A new study on the wrist bones recovered from the homo floresiensis assembly adds extra weight to our Hobbit from Flores being an entirely new species rather than a sick, deformed human. There are a few other stories popping up today so stay tuned for more insights! It’s a really busy day at work, so hopefully I can post them all up by the end of the day.
Homo Floresiensis skull, creative commons image by SBishop
New Research Sheds Light on “Hobbit” Smithsonian-led Study Published in Science
An international team of researchers led by the Smithsonian Institution has completed a new study on Homo floresiensis, commonly referred to as the “hobbit,” a 3-foot-tall, 18,000-year-old hominin skeleton, discovered four years ago on the Indonesian island of Flores. This study offers one of the most striking confirmations of the original interpretation of the hobbit as an island remnant of one of the oldest human migrations to Asia. The research is being published in the Sept. 21 issue of Science.