Is it official now? Hobbits as a new species.

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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

“The geometry of hobbits: Homo floresiensis and human evolution.” 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

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Wednesday Rojak #64 – The stolen and fading traditions edition

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This week’s rojak features the dying tradition of gong tuning in Vietnam, and a case of stolen tradition in a spat between Indonesia and Malaysia. And a special treat for those who missed the Hobbit Symposium earlier this year.
photo credit: roktobaren
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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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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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