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'Hobbits' are a new human species -- according to the statistical analysis of fossils
physical science news ^ | 19-Nov-2009 | Dawn Peters

Posted on 11/19/2009 5:39:35 AM PST by Pharmboy

Homo floresiensis not diseased sub-population of healthy humans Researchers from Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York have confirmed that Homo floresiensis is a genuine ancient human species and not a descendant of healthy humans dwarfed by disease. Using statistical analysis on skeletal remains of a well-preserved female specimen, researchers determined the "hobbit" to be a distinct species and not a genetically flawed version of modern humans. Details of the study appear in the December issue of Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society, published by Wiley-Blackwell.

In 2003 Australian and Indonesian scientists discovered small-bodied, small-brained, hominin (human-like) fossils on the remote island of Flores in the Indonesian archipelago. This discovery of a new human species called Homo floresiensis has spawned much debate with some researchers claiming that the small creatures are really modern humans whose tiny head and brain are the result of a medical condition called microcephaly.

Researchers William Jungers, Ph.D., and Karen Baab, Ph.D. studied the skeletal remains of a female (LB1), nicknamed "Little Lady of Flores" or "Flo" to confirm the evolutionary path of the hobbit species. The specimen was remarkably complete and included skull, jaw, arms, legs, hands, and feet that provided researchers with integrated information from an individual fossil.

The cranial capacity of LB1 was just over 400 cm, making it more similar to the brains of a chimpanzee or bipedal "ape-men" of East and South Africa. The skull and jawbone features are much more primitive looking than any normal modern human. Statistical analysis of skull shapes show modern humans cluster together in one group, microcephalic humans in another and the hobbit along with ancient hominins in a third.

Due to the relative completeness of fossil remains for LB1, the scientists were able to reconstruct a reliable body design that was unlike any modern human. The thigh bone and shin bone of LB1 are much shorter than modern humans including Central African pygmies, South African KhoeSan (formerly known as 'bushmen") and "negrito" pygmies from the Andaman Islands and the Philippines. Some researchers speculate this could represent an evolutionary reversal correlated with "island dwarfing." "It is difficult to believe an evolutionary change would lead to less economical movement," said Dr. Jungers. "It makes little sense that this species re-evolved shorter thighs and legs because long hind limbs improve bipedal walking. We suspect that these are primitive retentions instead."

Further analysis of the remains using a regression equation developed by Dr. Jungers indicates that LB1 was approximately 106 cm tall (3 feet, 6 inches)—far smaller than the modern pygmies whose adults grow to less than 150 cm (4 feet, 11 inches). A scatterplot depicts LB1 far outside the range of Southeast Asian and African pygmies in both absolute height and body mass indices. "Attempts to dismiss the hobbits as pathological people have failed repeatedly because the medical diagnoses of dwarfing syndromes and microcephaly bear no resemblance to the unique anatomy of Homo floresiensis," noted Dr. Baab.

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This study is published in Significance. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact physicalsciencenews@wiley.com

Full Citation: "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.

Significance, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Royal Statistical Society, is a quarterly magazine for anyone interested in statistics and the analysis and interpretation of data. Its aim is to communicate and demonstrate in an entertaining, thought-provoking and non-technical way the practical use of statistics in all walks of life and to show informatively and authoritatively how statistics benefit society. Significance can be accessed online at: www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/significance

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is the UK's only professional and learned society devoted to the interests of statistics and statisticians. It is also one of the most influential and prestigious statistical societies in the world. The Society has an international membership, and is active in a wide range of areas both directly and indirectly pertaining to the study and application of statistics. For more information, please visit www.rss.org.uk or contact Andrew Garratt, RSS Press & Public Affairs Officer on +44 20 7614 3920 or a.garratt@rss.org.uk.

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wileyblackwell.com or www.interscience.wiley.com.


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: evolution; godsgravesglyphs; hobbits; homofloresiensis; multiregionalism
Curioser and curioser...
1 posted on 11/19/2009 5:39:36 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: thefactor; blam; SunkenCiv; decimon; Coleus; aculeus

Little people(?) ping...


2 posted on 11/19/2009 5:41:06 AM PST by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: Pharmboy
Curioser and curioser...

Still too big for the curio, I think.

3 posted on 11/19/2009 5:45:43 AM PST by decimon
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To: Pharmboy

“with some researchers claiming that the small creatures are really modern humans whose tiny head and brain are the result”

more monkey business?


4 posted on 11/19/2009 5:51:13 AM PST by o_zarkman44
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To: Pharmboy
Here is a NOVA program (11 mins) about them, broadcast in 2005, you can watch on your computer: The Little People of Flores
5 posted on 11/19/2009 5:57:32 AM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: Pharmboy

Factoid: It has also surfaced that to settle differences among the tribes, young Hobbits took to wrastling. Thus, an industry emerged that would entertain legions down through the centuries, and is still going strong today in certain corners of society.


6 posted on 11/19/2009 6:06:14 AM PST by Dysart
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To: Pharmboy
"Curioser and curioser... "

Maybe all humans weren't Out Of Africa?

Sure would like to see some DNA from these folks.

Maybe some people went to Africa?

I'm impressed that the 'Hobbits' survived the near-by Toba explosion (near extinction) event 74,000 years ago.

7 posted on 11/19/2009 6:10:12 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
Maybe all humans weren't Out Of Africa?

That theory has been bouncing around for a few years now. Some think there were parallel developments in China and possiby europe.

VERRRRRRRRY INTERESTING!

8 posted on 11/19/2009 6:13:12 AM PST by paulycy (Demand Constitutionality.)
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To: blam
Well, I believe that the current wisdom says that H. erectus went back to Africa from Europe...
9 posted on 11/19/2009 6:18:20 AM PST by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: Pharmboy
Na, not a new species. The live with us today.


10 posted on 11/19/2009 6:18:54 AM PST by scoobysnak71
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To: Izzy Dunne

Thanks much for the link...


11 posted on 11/19/2009 6:19:05 AM PST by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: Pharmboy


Mee's a computer programmer ...
12 posted on 11/19/2009 6:20:19 AM PST by Scythian
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To: scoobysnak71
Ha...the vicious Rahmapithecus emanuelensis.
13 posted on 11/19/2009 6:21:40 AM PST by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: Pharmboy
"Well, I believe that the current wisdom says that H. erectus went back to Africa from Europe... "

Human Ancestors Went Out Of Africa And Then Came Back... [1998]

14 posted on 11/19/2009 6:24:20 AM PST by blam
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To: paulycy

You mean the Lord of the Rings was history?

I think some of the Nephilim matings that Genesis talks about met with some stunted offspring as well as giants....


15 posted on 11/19/2009 6:27:53 AM PST by mdmathis6
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To: mdmathis6
You mean the Lord of the Rings was history?

LOTR was actually a documentary. I saw it first on the National Geographic Channel.

16 posted on 11/19/2009 6:30:41 AM PST by paulycy (Demand Constitutionality.)
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To: Dysart

“Factoid: It has also surfaced that to settle differences among the tribes, young Hobbits took to wrastling. Thus, an industry emerged that would entertain legions down through the centuries, and is still going strong today in certain corners of society.”

They went extinct because after a hard day of hunting, Neanderthals used to relax by seeing how far they could toss them.


17 posted on 11/19/2009 6:51:25 AM PST by Hacklehead (Liberalism is the art of taking what works, breaking it, and then blaming conservatives.)
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To: Pharmboy

Amazing stuff. Just goes to show how LITTLE we know of history. BOTH sides claiming the facts are on their side are to be laughed at. Fossils are amazingly rare compared to the amount of life over millions/billions of years of existence. Don’t let fields of ferns fossils fool you(figurative) into thinking fossils are common.


18 posted on 11/19/2009 7:00:36 AM PST by SengirV
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To: Pharmboy
Using statistical analysis on skeletal remains of a well-preserved female specimen

Statistical Analysis on what? Answer:

Statistical analysis of skull shapes show modern humans cluster together in one group, microcephalic humans in another and the hobbit along with ancient hominins in a third.

Of Bone shapes. That is how they came up with that it is a another species. Not DNA testing not proof of interbreeding problems. I.E. Speculation.

19 posted on 11/19/2009 7:01:14 AM PST by sr4402
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To: Pharmboy

So, are Pygmy’s now a seperate species as well? An how about the tall tribe?


20 posted on 11/19/2009 7:06:20 AM PST by Wpin (I do not regret my admiration for W)
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To: Pharmboy

is it just me or do the pics in mess 10 and 12 look eerily alike?

Anybody good at shopping the pics?


21 posted on 11/19/2009 7:07:10 AM PST by scoobysnak71
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To: Pharmboy
Lucy the ancestor of blacks

Neanderthals the ancestors of whites

and Hobbits the ancestors of Asians?

22 posted on 11/19/2009 7:10:50 AM PST by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied, the economy died)
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To: TexasFreeper2009
No no no...we do know enough to rule that out. Lucy is old enough and a different species (Australopithecus afarensis) to be ancestor to us all (if she wasn't merely a dead-end). Neanderthals were probably not ancestral to anyone alive today, but that's still up for grabs; genetic evidence to data shows we did not interbreed with them, but likely killed them off, and maybe even ate them (did NOT taste like chicken); and these hobbits likely had NOTHING to do with human development in Asia.
23 posted on 11/19/2009 7:20:35 AM PST by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: sr4402

Taxonomy is a looser field....”species” in taxonomy only need distinct phenotypes/morphology.


24 posted on 11/19/2009 7:31:36 AM PST by ElectricStrawberry (Didja know that Man walked with 100+ species of large meat eating dinos within the last 4,351 years?)
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To: Pharmboy
You are probably right, I just think it is interesting that Neanderthals had red hair and were hairy, just like Whites.

And these Hobbits are much shorter like Asians.

Maybe just an adaptation for the environment that created the coincidence.

25 posted on 11/19/2009 7:33:55 AM PST by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied, the economy died)
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To: Pharmboy

26 posted on 11/19/2009 7:37:43 AM PST by reagan_fanatic (Hope....Change...Unemployment!)
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To: reagan_fanatic

Ha! Likely the original Hobbits were better looking...


27 posted on 11/19/2009 8:01:05 AM PST by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: Pharmboy
Are you looking at me?


28 posted on 11/19/2009 9:17:03 AM PST by aculeus
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To: Pharmboy; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ..

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Thanks Pharmboy.

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

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29 posted on 11/19/2009 4:23:26 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: SengirV

You are a wise person.


30 posted on 11/19/2009 4:49:19 PM PST by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: Pharmboy

Very vicious indeed. Reputed to bite ankles.


31 posted on 11/19/2009 8:11:04 PM PST by Redcitizen (Zartan for President 2012)
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