Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

"Hobbits" May Have Been Genetic Mutants
National Geographic News ^ | January 3, 2008 | John Roach

Posted on 01/04/2008 1:55:18 AM PST by forkinsocket

A rare disease characterized by small brain and body size but near normal intelligence is caused by mutations in a gene coding for the protein pericentrin, researchers have found.

The scientists speculate that the condition may explain the tiny, hobbitlike people that occupied a remote, Indonesian island about 18,000 years ago—adding fuel to the debate over whether the unusual creatures were a new species or just diseased modern humans.

Pericentrin helps separate chromosomes during cell division, which is needed for growth.

"The whole body loses its capacity to grow, because cell division is so difficult for people with this defect," said study co-author Anita Rauch of the Institute for Human Genetics at the University of Erlangen in Germany.

On average, disease sufferers grow about three feet (a meter) tall and have a brain the size of a three-month-old baby. However, their intelligence is near normal.

People with the defect also exhibit subtle bony anomalies in their hands and wrists, skull asymmetry, small chins, abnormal teeth, and abnormal shoulders, Rauch said.

Mysterious Hobbit

Descriptions of the hobbitlike people match those of modern humans with this genetic defect, Rauch added.

When the hobbit was discovered in 2004 on the Indonesian island of Flores, scientists hailed it as a new species: Homo floresiensis.

Since then, scientists have debated whether the hobbit is indeed a new species or a modern human with a genetic disease that causes small brains called microcephaly.

The new study links the genetic mutations to a type of microcephaly that limits all growth—that of the brain and the body.

"We think it is very likely that Homo floresiensis indeed had a pericentrin mutation," Rauch said.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; hobbit; hobbits; indonesia
1 posted on 01/04/2008 1:55:19 AM PST by forkinsocket
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: forkinsocket

Idiots. Hobbits are fictional characters.

2 posted on 01/04/2008 1:56:14 AM PST by webheart
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: webheart
"Hobbits are fictional characters."

I don't think so - I mean they even made a movie out of them.
I think you know that and are just being mean.......

3 posted on 01/04/2008 4:02:40 AM PST by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach

· Google · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology magazine · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Mirabilis · Texas AM Anthropology News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo ·
· History or Science & Nature Podcasts · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·

4 posted on 03/06/2008 9:07:25 AM PST by SunkenCiv ( updated Saturday, March 1, 2008)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson