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Old 04.03.2005, 19:39   #1
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Default ´Hobbit was a smart little human` say scientists

Posted on : 2005-03-04| Author : Brian Holmes
News Category : Technology

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/1864.html

The 18,000 year old human skeleton unearthed in Indonesia last year is in the spotlight once again. In the latest report published in the online edition of Science, researcher paleoneurologist Dean Falk said the skull has advanced features more like those of modern humans. Earlier he had expected to see a chimpanzee skull.

Falk who works at the Florida State University was persuaded by the National Geographic Society to take up research on the skeleton. The research was conducted with the cooperation of the Australian-led team that found the fossil.


The team had found the remains of seven tiny people, including one nearly complete skull of a 30-year-old woman. They dubbed the fossils homo floresiensis.

They had also found sophisticated stone points and barbs with the remains which have amazed anthropologists. They claimed that such tools were signs of a developed brain.

The fossil of the small hominid was designated LB1, a reference to Liang Bua caves where the skeleton was found.

The scientific community took to calling it the Hobbit after the diminutive characters in J.R.R. Tolkien's books. LB1, a female, measures at just 1 meter in height and has some surprisingly advanced features which negate an earlier theory that it was a diseased human being.

About the height, the scientists theorize that the species exemplified the "island rule" on a human scale. On isolated islands with limited resources and no natural predators to worry about, large animals tended to become smaller and vice versa. Flores, the place where the remains were found is known to have been populated by both miniature elephants and giant Komodo dragon lizards in prehistoric times.

A research associate of Falk said “Clearly, it does not belong to a modern human pygmy with a brain disease.” The team had carried out detailed examination of the creature’s braincase, which was mentioned in the ‘Science’ report.

They used computed tomographic (CT) scan data on the original skull to render a 3D virtual ‘endocast’ of the creature’s brain. A rubber ‘endocast’ was also created by applying several layers of rubber paint to the brain cavity in the skull. When dry this hollow rubber model or endocast can be removed.

The dimensions and features of her brain were then compared with endocasts from various other species: these included the chimpanzee, the modern pygmy, a normal modern human, homo erectus and an individual with true microcephaly. Microcephaly is a brain defect that can stunt growth. It is characterized by an abnormally small head and brain and is usually associated with mental difficulties. This variable was included in the comparison because Indonesian paleoanthropologist Teuku Jacob argued that the remains were really those of a modern human who had microcephaly. However, the subsequent findings have ruled out that possibility.

The Science report says the hominids showed signs of advanced intelligence such as the ability to hunt with sophisticated stone tools. The stone points found along with the remains were evidence of this mental development. According to them, the brain supports the idea that it is a dwarf species of human new to science.

The overall shape of the hominid’s brain is very similar to that of Homo erectus (an earlier ancestor of modern humans). It also has some very advanced features that compare well with the modern human’s brain. Particularly, the frontal lobe, the temporal lobes at the sides and at the back of the brain are very similar to a modern human brain’s features.

While the debate about its origins continues in the scientific community, some scientific bodies are wrangling over the custody of the fossil. The remains have been moved from Jakarta’s Center for Archaeology to Professor Jacob’s university so that the skeptical professor can study the bones for himself.
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Old 04.03.2005, 20:30   #2
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btw Hobbit is a misspelled "rabbit"
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Old 05.03.2005, 02:14   #3
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Old 05.03.2005, 02:41   #4
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'Hobbit' dwarfs with smart brain, scans show

http://www.cbc.ca/story/science/nati...its050303.html



Last Updated Fri, 04 Mar 2005 08:05:06 EST
CBC News
WASHINGTON - Early dwarfs or fossilized "hobbits" discovered in Indonesia may have had the brains of a previously unknown species of early humans, imaging scans suggests.

The new finding supports the hypothesis that Homo floresiensis, or "Man of Flores," was marooned on the island [ ] at the same time modern humans flourished elsewhere in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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