Tiny Hobbit cast unveiled

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The cast of the controversial Liang Bua 1 hobbit was unveiled to the public on Tuesday at a special symposium at Stony Brook University in New York. The buzz is certainly exciting in the US, but it should be noted that many Indonesian and Malaysian colleagues are highly skeptical of the Hobbit representing a new species – partly from nationalistic sensibilities as well as religious ones (which is probably why you don’t hear a lot about them in the media). For now the published evidence tends to suggest that the Hobbit represents a new species rather than a deformed human, but I’d just like to highlight the disparity in opinion in the local scene.


Controversial Hobbit Looks Tiny in Person

Live Science, 22 April 2009
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Public Lecture: Hobbits in Context: Hominin Biogeography in Island South East Asia (2009 Mulvaney Lecture)

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Prof Mike Morwood of the Wollongong University is giving this year’s Mulvaney Lecture at the Australian National University. He led the team that was responsible for the discovery of the Indonesian hobbit, or Homo Floresiensis.

2009 Mulvaney Lecture – Hobbits in Context: Hominin Biogeography in Island South East Asia
Lecture Theatre 1, Manning Clark Centre, Building 26a, Union Court
Australian National University, Canberra
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
7.30 pm

Finding evidence for a tiny, new species of human on the island of Flores in Indonesia was unexpected, but no more so than evidence for hominins on the island by 880,000 years ago. This lecture will explain why, with reference to the dispersal and evolutionary histories of other terrestrial animals in island Southeast Asia. It will conclude with some of the implications for early hominin and modern human biogeography in the region.

Wednesday Rojak #53 – Lego and archaeology

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This edition of rojak is an eclectic mix of tantalizing speculations about the hobbit’s role in linguistics, videos from Java and lego archaeology.

78/365 - Boys will be boys
photo credit: kennymatic
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Hobbit symposium at Stony Brook

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Everything you wanted to know about the Hobbit under one roof. Stony Brook University is holding a one-day public symposium, convened by palaeoanthropologist Richard Leakey and hosted by the Turkana Basin Institute. The symposium will feature a who’s-who list of researchers presenting the latest on the Hobbit research and the debate.

Hobbits in the Haystack: Homo floresiensis and Human Evolution
Seventh Human Evolution Workshop
21 April 2009
Stony Brook University
Registration details at the Turkana Basin Institute

Top minds in ‘Hobbit’ debate gather at Stony Brook University
Science Centric, 07 February 2009
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The hobbit’s a new species! Again. Or not.

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You know it’s a sign of hobbit-fatigue when a new claim about the hobbit pops up, and all you can say is, “…uh-huh.” This new claim swings the pendulum back to the “new species” camp, after a new study compared the cranial morphology of the hobbit with a simulated 3D model of a hominid with the same size. The correlations in the 3D model seem to indicate that the hobbit fits the parameters of a small hominid rather than a human, deformed or otherwise.

Of course, this is not the last we are going to hear about the issue. I doubt detractors are going to accept the hobbit-as-a-separate thesis on the basis that the hobbit’s cranium fits the prediction by a computer model. Incidentally, the Journal of Human Evolution has a whole series of papers published around the same time about the Flores skeletons and archaeological material, including descriptions of the Hobbit skeletons.

‘Hobbit’ Fossils Represent A New Species, Concludes Anthropologist
Science Daily, 17 Dec 2008

Size, shape, and asymmetry in fossil hominins: The status of the LB1 cranium based on 3D morphometric analyses
Journal of Human Evolution, 04 December 2008
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Public lecture: The Flores Hominid

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Professor Colin Groves will be giving a talk on the Flores Hominid, aka fomo floresiensis, aka the hobbit later this month in September. Do give a visit, if you’re in the vicinity of the Australian National University.

Public Lecture: The Flores Hobbit
Speaker/Host: Professor Colin Groves
Venue: Manning Clark Theatre 6
Date: Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Time: 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Enquiries: Wendy Lees on 040 652 6332
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