More Hobbit stories

Two articles on the New York Times and the Daily Mail about the recent papers in PNAS suggesting that the ‘Hobbit’ is person with Down syndrome and not a new species.

LB1 skull

A New Explanation for ‘New’ Man
New York Times, 04 August 2014

The oldest case of Down’s syndrome? 15,000-year-old ‘Flores man’ bones are not evidence of a new human species, study reveals
Daily Mail, 05 August 2014

The authors of the first journal paper — Robert B. Eckhardt and Alex S. Weller of Penn State University, Maciej Henneberg of the University of Adelaide, in Australia, and Kenneth J. Hsu of the National Institute of Earth Sciences in Beijing — concluded that the defining features of the specimen as originally described “do not establish the uniqueness or normality necessary to meet the formal criteria for a type specimen of a new species.”

The lead author of the second paper on the Down syndrome hypothesis was Dr. Henneberg, a professor of anatomy and pathology, with Dr. Eckhardt, a professor of developmental genetics and evolution, as a co-author.

Based on a re-examination of the available evidence, the researchers said the revised dimensions of the LB1 cranium and femur fell in the range predicted for an individual with Down syndrome from that region of Indonesia. The larger size estimate also matches that of some people today on Flores and other Pacific islands.

Stories here and here.

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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.

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