Skip to comments.HOBBIT WARS (Small Islanders Show No Signs Of Growth Disorder)
Posted on 04/28/2008 2:25:37 PM PDT by blam
April 24th, 2008
Small islanders show no signs of growth disorder
Computer-generated reconstructions (bottom) of the fossilized skulls of the small islanders suggest that, contrary to corresponding photos (top), these "hobbits" belonged to a unique species.K. Smith/Mallinckrodt Inst. Radiology, Wash. Univ. St. Louis; E. Indriati, D. Frayer
COLUMBUS, Ohio Defenders of a small humanlike species that lived on an Indonesian island more than 12,000 years ago have launched their latest scientific counterattacks against critics of their position. Remains of Homo floresiensis, also referred to as hobbits, display no signs of growth disorders proposed by researchers who regard the fossils as those of modern humans, says Dean Falk of Florida State University in Tallahassee.
Instead, Falk and Florida State colleague Angela Schauber suspect that H. floresiensisespecially as represented by a partial skeleton called LB1adapted to a challenging island environment by evolving into a smaller but proportionally equivalent version of an ancestral species, possibly Homo erectus.
Falk and Schauber presented separate papers on April 10 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
LB1 didnt have any of the growth pathologies that have been attributed to it, Falk said.
For instance, last year a research team asserted that LB1 exhibits 33 skeletal symptoms of Laron Syndrome, a type of insensitivity to growth hormones. Aside from a reduction of face and limb size, this condition includes a rounded protrusion of the forehead and a depressed ridge on top of the nose.
Measurements, photographs, and three-dimensional computed tomography reconstructions of LB1 show almost no similarities to published data on the anatomy of Laron Syndrome, Falk holds. In particular, LB1 displays unique skull and tooth traits. It also possesses whopping long feet relative to body size, in contrast to the typically small feet observed in Laron Syndrome, she notes.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenews.org ...
I knew it. Price of gas up due to Hobbit Wars.
So that’s where Bilbo and Frodo sailed.
DNA should settle the issue. Wonder why they haven't tried that.
Don't know. If they're Homo Erectus, DNA would settle the issue quickly.
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Wonder why they haven’t tried that.
I think the bone was very soft due to chemical action, thus likely no DNA.
Yeah, I have run into problems with soft bone. I tried three samples on one skeleton and got nothing. But one just about 500 years older had a nice tooth, and the lab got mtDNA on the first try.
The Hobbits are more than twice as old as the ones I had, which makes it much more difficult, but there are a few labs now that are having pretty good success with those older samples.
And they sequenced a couple of Neanderthals, so I think its just a matter of time before they are successful with a Hobbit tooth.
“Computer-generated reconstructions (bottom) of the fossilized skulls of the small islanders suggest that, contrary to corresponding photos (top), these “hobbits” belonged to a unique species.”
Forget the skulls. Let’s see their feet and then we’ll know if these were hobbits.
The specimens are not fossilized, but were described in a Nature news article as having "the consistency of wet blotting paper" (once exposed, the bones had to be left to dry before they could be dug up). Researchers hope to find preserved mitochondrial DNA to compare with samples from similarly unfossilised specimens of Homo neanderthalensis and H. sapiens. It is unlikely that useful DNA specimens exist in the available sample, as DNA degrades rapidly in warm tropical environments, sometimes in as little as a few dozen years. Also, contamination from the surrounding environment seems highly possible given the moist environment in which the specimens were found.
That's why I suggested teeth. I have had far better luck with teeth than bone, and I have never had to try soft bone. And my oldest samples are half that age.
The skulls showed what appeared to be decent teeth, but they may have been soft as well.