In this week’s edition of Science Talk, the podcast of Scientific American, there’s a segment entitled Little Brains, Big Brains, about the Indonesian hobbit or homo floresiensis.
Little Brains, Big Brains: Latest Flores Hobbit News
Scientific American, May 21 2008
Peter Brown, one of the discoverers of the hobbit hominid skeleton from Liang Bua cave in Flores posts a robust -and credible – defence against the charge that the Hobbit underwent dental work. He posts his rebuttal on his website, along with high-resolution photos which you can read here.
The tooth, and nothing but!
New museums, Hobbit commentaries and views of some of Southeast Asia’s archaeological sites – all this for today’s edition of rojak!
photo credit: kurvenalbn
This story of the Hobbit tooth should have come out earlier, but I seem to have missed it out. This was what’s been causing the recent Hobbit tooth furore over the past couple of days (see here and here).
Tempest in a Hobbit Tooth
Science, 24 April 2008
In an interesting twist to the hotly-debated Hobbit saga, a new book claims that the Hobbit remains appear to have had some dental work on them, overturning the supposed antiquity of the bones and thus, the new species theory.
Did the Flores Hobbit Have a Root Canal?
Scientific American, 18 April 2008
Hobbit ‘had been to dentist’
The Australian, 19 April 2008
The tooth, and nothing but
The Australian, 19 April 2008
A newly-defined disease is speculated a possible explanation of the hobbit: the disease causes decreased stature and growth, but also allows for normal intelligence to develop.
“Hobbits” May Have Been Genetic Mutants
National Geographic News, 03 January 2008
Duncan Graham, a writer based in Surabaya, gives his take on the book The Discovery of the Hobbit by Mike Morwood and Penny van Oosterzee. Another review of the book has been posted on SEAArch here.
The Trouble With Hobbits
The Jakarta Post, 23 December 2007
I’m writing from Johor Bahru, Malaysia, where sessions at the international archaeology seminar organised by the Association of Malaysian Archaeolgists are underway. Monday’s been pretty packed filled with session after session of presentations from the different parts of Southeast Asia – this seminar’s theme is ‘Sharing Our Archaeological Heritage’.
Keynote speech by Dr Stephen Oppenheimer
Yesterday’s sessions began with the keynote speech by Oxford’s Stephen Oppenheimer about Southeast Asia’s role in the various waves of human migration. Explaining from a genetic perspective, he suggested the strong genetic evidence for a single southern route (by hugging the coast via India) out of Africa into Southeast Asia and Asia some 80,000 years ago. In more recent times, he also suggested indigenous expansions of local populations within Southeast Asia instead of a single ‘out of Taiwan’ theory to explain human migration into Australia, New Zealand and Polynesia.
Other presentations that caught my ear today was Dr Rasmi Shoocongdej’s work in Northwestern Thailand – I had a nice chat with her during lunch about conducting my fieldwork surveys in Thailand next year and also received some advice from her. Of course, homo floresiensis had to pop up – and from Dr. Harry Widianto’s presentation. I heard why he didn’t consider the hobbit to be a new species. It seems to me that the divide on opinion is very much based on nationalistic lines – with the Indonesians very much denying that homo floresiensis is a new species.
Another day of presentations on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday, we go on an archaeological tour of Johor!
Hobbits! Hobbits! and more Hobbits! is the theme for this week’s Wednesday Rojak, which is not surprising since last week saw the release of a paper supporting the hobbit-is-not-human camp by describing the wrist bones of homo floresiensis as primitive, descending from an earlier hominin offshoot. Read about:
- Kambiz Kamrani takes a closer look at the bone analyses outlined in the study.
- The Cabinet of Wonders takes a step back to comment on the dynamics of opinion about the hobbit in Hobbits? It’s all in the wrist.
- While Kris points out that between a new species of human or deformed, the hobbit might not even be human.
- And for an overview of early human migrations through the world, TuLu Research posts a small map and timeline for your reference.
- On an afterthought, 900 ft Jesus thinks that the whole Hobbit affair should really mess with creationists’ heads.
Of course, there’s some other stuff in Southeast Asia too, like:
In this series of weekly rojaks (published on Wednesdays) Iâ€™ll feature other sites in the blogosphere that are of related to archaeology in Southeast Asia. Got a recommendation for the next Wednesday rojak? Email me