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RE: Homo floresiensis
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The discovery of a tiny species of human 10 years ago has transformed theories of human evolution.
The claim is made by Prof Richard Roberts who was among those to have published details of the "Hobbit".
The early human was thought to have lived as recently as 20,000 years ago and so walked the Earth at the same time as our species.
The Hobbit's discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human.

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Flores bones show features of Down syndrome

Detailed reanalysis by an international team of researchers including Robert B. Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolution at Penn State, Maciej Henneberg, professor of anatomy and pathology at the University of Adelaide, and Kenneth Hsü, a Chinese geologist and paleoclimatologist, suggests that the single specimen on which the new designation depends, known as LB1, does not represent a new species. Instead, it is the skeleton of a developmentally abnormal human and, according to the researchers, contains important features most consistent with a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
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Study backs Homo floresiensis island dwarfism theory

A diminutive species of human whose remains were found on the Indonesian island of Flores could have shrunk as a result of island dwarfism as it adapted to its environment.
A study of the remains of the creature shows that it is possible for it to have been a dwarf version of an early human species.
 
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Archaeologists who found the remains of human "Hobbits" have permission to restart excavations at the cave where the specimens were found.
Indonesian officials have blocked access to the cave since 2005, following a dispute over the bones.

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H. floresiensis
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When scientists found 18,000-year-old bones of a small, humanlike creature on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, they concluded that the bones represented a new species in the human family tree that they named Homo floresiensis. Their interpretation was widely accepted by the scientific community and heralded by the popular press around the world. Because of its very short stature, H. floresiensis was soon dubbed the “Hobbit.”

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Pygmoid Australomelanesian
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Title: Pygmoid Australomelanesian Homo sapiens skeletal remains from Liang Bua, Flores: Population affinities and pathological abnormalities
Authors: T. Jacob, E. Indriati, R. P. Soejono, K. Hsü , D. W. Frayer, R. B. Eckhardt, A. J. Kuperavage, A. Thorne, and M. Henneberg.

Liang Bua 1 (LB1) exhibits marked craniofacial and postcranial asymmetries and other indicators of abnormal growth and development. Anomalies aside, 140 cranial features place LB1 within modern human ranges of variation, resembling Australomelanesian populations. Mandibular and dental features of LB1 and LB6/1 either show no substantial deviation from modern Homo sapiens or share features (receding chins and rotated premolars) with Rampasasa pygmies now living near Liang Bua Cave. We propose that LB1 is drawn from an earlier pygmy H. sapiens population but individually shows signs of a developmental abnormality, including microcephaly. Additional mandibular and postcranial remains from the site share small body size but not microcephaly.

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Homo floresiensis
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Professor Mike Morwood, of the University of New England, in Armidale, Australia, and his team had originally thought that the original partial skeleton (LB1) discovered in a limestone cave in 2003, represented a unique species of early humans that evolved to a naturally small size because of environmental conditions and the isolation of the island.

The newly found remains, dug up in 2004, consist of a jaw, as well as arm and other bones which the researchers believe were from at least nine individuals.
A jaw bone reported last year and the latest one were probably from the same species, according to the scientists. Both share similar `double root` dental features and lacked chins.

The new discoveries are important because some sceptics had claimed that the hominid was simply a modern human with a disease called microencephaly. But the new finds all came from individuals with the same body size. This supports the idea that Homo floresiensis is indeed a species in its own right.
If the remains were from a population of short microcephalic humans they would have had to survive a long time or been susceptible to a high frequency of dwarfism.

"Such possibilities strain credulity" - Daniel Lieberman, of Harvard University in Massachusetts.

CAT scans of the inside of the original skull suggested it was a normal adult and not a diseased or mutant species.
The new species was thought to be a descendent of Homo erectus, which had a large brain, was full-sized and spread from Africa to Asia about 2 million years ago. But they now think that a more likely ancestral line goes back to australopithecine species such as 3-million-year-old “Lucy”, found in Ethiopia (Australopithecus afarensis).

"Although the original skeleton is estimated to be 18,000 years old, a child's radius (arm bone) was found in deposits estimated to be 12,000 years old" - Daniel Lieberman.

-- Edited by Blobrana at 15:26, 2005-10-11

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Scientists have discovered more remains of Homo floresiensis.
Last year a single, partial skeleton found on Flores island, Indonesia was claimed to be a new human species by the archaeologists
Homo floresiensis, was just a metre tall and lived 18,000 years ago.
Now, the same team says it has skeletal remains from at least nine of the "Hobbit-like" individuals.

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Chris Stringer FRS - NEW VIEWS ON HUMAN ORIGINS - 2 June 17.30 GMT (18.30 British Summer Time) I'm pleased to inform you that on Thursday 2 June at 17.30 GMT we are broadcasting live coverage of Professor Chris Stringer's lecture, "New views on human origins". Professor Stringer will discuss some of the mysteries of human origins; from how we came to replace other humans such as the Neanderthals, to the discovery of Homo floresiensis (the 'Hobbit') and what such discoveries can tell us about human evolution in a global context. Further details are available from www.royalsoc.ac.uk/events. The above lecture will last for approximately one hour and will be viewable from www.royalsoc.ac.uk/live.



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