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More Evidence For Hobbit Sized Species

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the frodo-meets-science dept.

Science 327

GogglesPisano writes "CNN.com reports that scientists digging in a remote Indonesian cave have uncovered a jaw bone that they say adds more evidence that a tiny prehistoric Hobbit-like species once existed." From the article: "The discovery of a jaw bone, to be reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, represents the ninth individual belonging to a group believed to have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. The bones are in a wet cave on the island of Flores in the eastern limb of the Indonesian archipelago, near Australia."

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327 comments

About time for a new poll question... (1)

Ads are broken (718513) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768483)

...don't you think?

What about Prehistoric Golems? (-1, Offtopic)

MikeyTheK (873329) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768489)

Me hates the hobbits!

Re:What about Prehistoric Golems? (1)

oscartheduck (866357) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768551)

A Golem [wikipedia.org] is a mythical creature from Judaism which is very unlikely to have known of the existance of J.R.R. Tolkien's mythology. You're looking, it seems, for Gollum. [wikipedia.org]

Golem vs Gollum (3, Funny)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768588)

First thing a a golem would say, of course, is nothing [wikipedia.org] . Golems can't speak, according to folklore. Sure would have made it more difficult for Andy Sirkis to get an award...

Re:Golem vs Gollum (1)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768907)

True, but Golems from Folklore hold no relationship at all to Gollum.

Re:Golem vs Gollum (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768990)

Of course if you are talking about Goldblum, You can't shut Jeff up!!!

Re:What about Prehistoric Golems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768611)

WOW, you should be ashamed of yourself.

You are obviously not a true nerd, merely a wanna-be nerd. Nevertheless, this is WAY to simple for even a wannabe to get wrong. I mean, come on! At least try some!

Your comment should have read;

WE hates Hobbitsses

sheesh!

Ever think.... (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768493)

It could have just been a young kid? I'm sure the hobbit idea is much more interesting though...

Re:Ever think.... (5, Interesting)

Namronorman (901664) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768557)

Bone structures change over time, especially from child to adult. I think they would have been able to tell easily if it were. The main controversy here that I see from the article is that some people believe that the bones found have been that of a person who suffered from microencephaly or dwarfism.

Mini elephants (3, Interesting)

boldtbanan (905468) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768866)

Part of the controversy is due to the fact that there are other 'small' animal bones which have been found on the island, such as miniature elephants. In conjunction with the finds or other mini-species, the 'hobbit' people becomes a more likely conclusion than if you only consider the 'hobbit' bones by themselves. Not only that but on other islands in the archipelago, they have found bones of apparently human-related giants who were much larger than people today. Only the hobbit-folk get any press though.

Re:Ever think.... (2, Informative)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768896)

The point of this article is that latest finds are bones of other individuals with similar characteristics.

So it isn't "a person", it is maybe several people _all_ suffering from microencephaly, all died / buried in the same place, without any normal homo sapiens remains.

Could be a primitive society with a history of the disease and a special burial place exclusively for those afflicted - but we're having to stretch the theory rather a lot to explain this...

Re:Ever think.... (2, Informative)

jbrader (697703) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768580)

It's easy to tell from dentition and the state of the bone as well as other things the general age of an animal or person from a jaw bone.

Re:Ever think.... (5, Funny)

geeber (520231) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768614)

It could have just been a young kid? I'm sure the hobbit idea is much more interesting though...

I am sure that idea never occured to the scientists doing the digging. You should write to them and let them know your brilliant theory. That would save everyone involved a lot of time.

Re:Ever think.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768646)

Might be just the alcohol.

Re:Ever think.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768699)

Holy crap! We never thought of that! Thanks, Slashdot user 912509!

- Signed, all the scientists in the world

Re:Ever think.... (1)

technomancer68 (865695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768782)

I think it was the enlarged foot with hair still growing out of it next to the jaw that was a dead give away.

Re:Ever think.... (1)

't is DjiM (801555) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768872)

I too have large feet and there is hair on one of my toes. I'm not a hobbit!

Small people = hobbit? (0, Flamebait)

't is DjiM (801555) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768846)

More thoughts:

-Couldn't is be a case of a syndrome we know now (achondroplasia) that disables some hormones that are needed to make the body grow? Or something similar?
-E.g. Pygmy people are much smaller than most earthlings. Therefore, this particular finding could have been an individual of a small tribe where all members were offspring of a couple of very small individuals... Without being a new species or whatever. Hell, I'm more than 1 foot taller than my GF. And I can assure you we're the same species.

Ever thought about the actors in LOTR that played the hobbits? Those guys had very short stand-ins for some scenes. Those stand-ins were not hobbits or Flores people, they're just normal people talented with a very small body, making them an ideal stand-in for some fantasy movies.

Those guys really want to be on national geographic soon with their "scientific" article on "hobbits"

Re:Ever think.... (0, Redundant)

giberti (110903) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768869)

Why couldn't there be a small adult size? We have dwarfed people alive today functioning in society without issue. And since we're talking L.O.T.R. here, weren't the body doubles for the hobbits all Indonesian?

Or it could be a dwarf (4, Informative)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768496)

From TFA: A vocal scientific minority insists the Hobbit specimens do not represent a new species at all. They believe the specimens are nothing more than the bones of modern humans that suffered from microencephaly, a broadly defined genetic disorder that results in small brain size and other defects.

And, at least two groups of opponents have submitted their own studies to other leading scientific journals refuting the Flores work.

"This paper doesn't clinch it. I feel strongly that people are glossing over the problems with this interpretation," said Robert Martin, a biological anthropologist and provost of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Or it could be a chromosome (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768550)

Or a G-nome.

Re:Or it could be a dwarf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768589)

Hmm, a population that as a group, seems to suffer from a particular, inherited genetic disorder, possibly as a response to a resource-limited environment? So, what do these naysayers think would constitute speciation?

Re:Or it could be a dwarf (3, Informative)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768640)

So, what do these naysayers think would constitute speciation?

How about the inability to sexually reproduce with the original species? A human with microencephaly can still sexually reproduce with another human that does not have this disorder.

However, to call it a new species seems extremely short sighted.

Re:Or it could be a dwarf (5, Informative)

the phantom (107624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768701)

Traditionally? Speciation occurs when the decendant* line can no longer interbreed with the ancestor* line to produce viable offspring. Sickle cell anemia could be considered an inherited genetic disorder that is possibly a response to Malaria, yet the large populations of Africans that tend to have either full or partial expression of the trait are not a genetically distinct population -- they are still capable of reproducing with other Africans, Europeans, Asians, American Indians, or any other human population.

Defining species from fossils and bones can be a bit trickier -- can you prove that this population is (a) represented by these bones, (b) genetically distinct, and (c) incapable of creating viable offspring with any other 'human' population.

I would also like to note that there are a great variety of human populations. In Africa alone, there are groups that tend to be quite short and robust, and groups that tend to be quite tall and gracile. In a fossil record, they might bee seen as distinct species, yet we know that they can have children together. Just one of the hazards of fossils, I suppose.

* ancestor and decendant, are, of course, relative

Re:Or it could be a dwarf (4, Funny)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768904)

ancestor and decendant, are, of course, relative
You've been waiting to use that for a while, haven't you?

Re:Or it could be a dwarf (1)

the phantom (107624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768924)

Yup. :P

Or it could be the Smurfs (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768674)

From TFA: A vocal scientific minority insists the Hobbit specimens do not represent a new species at all. They believe the specimens are nothing more than the bones of modern humans that suffered from microencephaly, a broadly defined genetic disorder that results in small brain size and other defects.

Seems from the news that Smurf Village has been bombed [canada.com] and will feature in a UNICEF ad in Belgium next week.

it was probably done by president gargamel...

Re:Or it could be the Smurfs (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768851)

I need to see this ad.

Before anyone else does... (0, Redundant)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768502)

I, for one, welcome our new hobbit-sized overlords!

Re:Before anyone else does... (1)

size1one (630807) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768663)

I, for one, welcome our new hobbit-sized overlords!

Against enemies 1-2 shorter than myself im not going down without a fight unless they vastly outnumber me. With a good set of shinguards and i'll be just fine.

Re:Before anyone else does... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768728)

even 1 on 1 they will beat you.... they know ninjitsu......

Re:Before anyone else does... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768743)

I, for one, welcome our new hobbit-sized overlords!

I think they're technically "underlords", what with being tiny, mostly harmless and living underground, and all.

Just watch out for the one's with glowing golden rings that pulse with an aura of evil incarnate, and you'll be fine! :-)

Re:Before anyone else does... (1)

wtansill (576643) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768919)

I, for one, welcome our new hobbit-sized overlords!
They weren't Hobbits -- that's all that's left of the Smurf's village after the bomb raid shown by the folks from Unicef...

Wait a second... (0, Redundant)

joemawlma (897746) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768506)

How do we know it wasn't just a 12,000 year old circus midget?

All makes sense (4, Funny)

powerpuffgirls (758362) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768510)

Wow! Eastern limb of the Indonesian archipelago, near Australia, which is close to New Zealand, which is where LOTR was shot.

Re:All makes sense (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768719)

which starred Ian MacKellen who was also in X-Men with Donna Goodhand, who was in Cavedweller with... Kevin Bacon.

Re:All makes sense (2, Funny)

kai.chan (795863) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768744)

Wow! And if you look at the date of the CNN article, if you times the numeric value of the month by 2, and add it to the numeric value of the article's day, you get 31, which is the sum of the numeric release date (12 + 19) of Fellowship of the Ring! Coincidence?? I think not!

isn't it obvious to you all? (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768517)

the jawbone was placed there by satan to test your faith

Re:isn't it obvious to you all? (4, Interesting)

RedNovember (887384) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768651)

Speaking of which...

What is the religious answer to this? Do they contend that these were a failed first protoype of later man? Someone give me an argument to go on...

Re:isn't it obvious to you all? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768755)

The GOOD Christian answer is that these bones are a liberal-commie-jewish plot planted by the liberal-commie-jewish agents of Satan to test our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (who is only Jewish when it is useful for our GOOD Christian purposes).

Re:isn't it obvious to you all? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768834)

What is the religious answer to this? Do they contend that these were a failed first protoype of later man? Someone give me an argument to go on...

Depends on the religion. Don't believe the haters who tell you that everyone who's religious has a feeble and closed mind, and just spouts whatever they last heard coming from a pulpit: there are as many opinions among the religious as among atheists. In fact, you'll probably find an even more diverse range of opinions among the religious, since we don't feel quite so compelled to reject ideas just because they're clearly impossible. :P

If you look in Genesis, there's a bit where it says that there were giants before the Flood, so the creationists would probably tell you that there were clearly dwarfs too, but they were horrible sinful creatures that richly deserved the drowning God sent them.

As a mostly-Christian who rejects the parts of the faith that modern science has disproven (but retains the fundamental moral principles, and tries to hang on to some kind of hope for an afterlife), I personally would take the line that God set up fairly broad parameters for the evolution of intelligence, but didn't interfere with the freedom of the various types of people who evolved, so it was possible for a species to die out again.

Ask a third person, and you'll probably get a third answer. That's the way it goes with things that can't be proven or discussed scientifically - everyone's view is equally valid (or invalid, if you prefer).

Re:isn't it obvious to you all? (3, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768941)

They were placed there through the grace of His Noodly Appendage to test our faith, duh!

Re:isn't it obvious to you all? (1)

bdcrazy (817679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768950)

Since there were writings on giants, i'm sure you could easily argue there were also those on the other end of the spectrum.

isn't it obvious to you all?-Jawbone of a "/."'er (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768700)

"the jawbone was placed there by satan to test your faith"

Unfortunately the wrong ass was dug up.

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768519)

We know things like that exist because the Bibl^WLord of the Rings tells us so! What do you mean "just because it's in a book doesn't mean it's true"?

They should check New Zealand (4, Funny)

complexmath (449417) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768525)

I hear Peter Jackson found a whole town of them there.

Re:They should check New Zealand (1)

Ranger (1783) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768809)

I hear Peter Jackson found a whole town of them there.

Actually Ron Howard [imdb.com] found them first.

Ah, so that's were that ship went. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768527)

I guess the eldars took off, though.

What about modern "Small Folk" (2, Interesting)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768537)

You know, I just watched Willow again the other day and it's full of "small" people. How are these "ancient" remains different from modern small folk (other than being old, of course)? None of the articles say anything about that. For instance, we don't classify folks with dwarfism as nonhuman, so why would an ancient instance of dwarfism indicate a different species?

Shouldn't the first thing in studying these remains to be to eliminate this possibility (along with full explanations as to why). I admit I've not delved too deep into this, but it is something which has always bothered me in the back of my mind.

Re:What about modern "Small Folk" (4, Insightful)

the phantom (107624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768600)

Not knowing the data that well, midgets and dwarfs seem to make up only a very small proportion of the population. If you sampled 100 people, what is the chance that you will get one diminutive person, let alone 20? The more skeletons they find that are similarly proportioned, the less likely it is that they represent statistical outliers, and the more likely it is that they represent the norm. Given the number of skeletons that have been found, I find the argument that they are statistical outliers to be unconvincing (though still possible, I suppose). A more likely explanation is that the small skeletons represent a significantly different population, whether it be an isolated group of Homo erectus, or an offshoot of the Home erectus line.

Re:What about modern "Small Folk" (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768798)

The only reason for that is the gene is very limited in quantity, and it's dominate,so there are no hidden carriers. As they aren't that likely to hook up with big-size people, the gene is not spreading.

Well, at least, that's true of one specific type of that disorder. There are probably all sorts of other causes, but the major one that can't be cured with hormones is one dominate gene.

And there is absolutely nothing stopping an entire population from having this gene, and, indeed, it might be a useful trait with limited resources.

Re:What about modern "Small Folk" (1)

animeshpathak (873597) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768826)

Here are more reasons as to why scientists are unmoved by this [nytimes.com] . [NyTimes. Use Bugmenot]
From the article:
Another possibility raised by the skeptics is that, particularly in the case of the specimen with a small braincase, the discoverers happened to come on a people suffering from a condition known as microencephaly. The disease causes abnormal brain growth and other deformities.

-A

Re:What about modern "Small Folk" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768831)

A more likely explanation is that the small skeletons represent a significantly different population,
Or perhaps these remains are from people who were the statistical outliers and were thus ostracized and exiled to live as their own separate group...

Re:What about modern "Small Folk" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768921)

Or it could show that there was something wrong with the environment. Something that caused genetic mutations to happen so that this disorder is more prevailant than in other parts of the world.

Re:What about modern "Small Folk" (1)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768954)

I've seen some rare footage on the internet of small folk gathering together in large numbers for some sort of mating ritual. It apparently involves balloons and clowns as well. Maybe something happened to these fossils during their mating season.

They are studing it. (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768923)

So far it doesn't appear to be a human. The shape of the skull doesn't match that of any known pygmy, dwarf, midget or diseased human. It is far more simular to Homo erectus than Homo sapian. The time range over which they appear to have existed also suggests that they evolved from Homo erectus, not from Homo sapian (although the two may have co-existed latter on).

Of course there is still a ton more to be studied, such as DNA, and so this is certainly not a closed case by any means. But so far it is different from anything else we have seen - different enough that it is tenatively being concidered a seperate species.

From TFA (2, Funny)

max99ted (192208) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768540)

However, the researchers acknowledge that the Hobbit shares a bizarre and unexplained mixture of modern and primitive traits. For example, its long, dangling arms were thought to have belonged only to much older prehuman species that were confined to Africa
Yet more evidence of FSM, I say.

Re:From TFA (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768710)

Flying Spaghetti Monster-ism?

Mithril (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768541)

Forget the hobbits - show me the mithril!

Maybe it was all of the cave graffiti that says (4, Funny)

Gadgetfreak (97865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768559)

Frodo Lived!

In other news, (0, Offtopic)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768579)

Dick Cheney is rumored to own the "ONE RING" tm in a secure and undisclosed location.

In DC where the shadows lie.....

Re:In other news, (0, Troll)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768811)

In a recent press release, Cheney was quoted as saying "Bwahahahahahahah, puny mortals! Henceforth, I shall be known as Sauron Cheney! BOW TO ME, WORMS!"

Trouble is... (0)

Skiron (735617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768583)

...their dead Jim, but not as we know it...

Re:Trouble is... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768974)

Their dead Jim what, and why is it giving them trouble?

By the way, what is a "dead Jim"?

Moses.. (1)

jimmyCarter (56088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768596)

Did the hobbits appear before or after Moses? I'm confused..

Wet cave? (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768617)

> The discovery of a jaw bone, to be reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, represents the ninth individual belonging to a group believed to have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. The bones are in a wet cave on the island of Flores in the eastern limb of the Indonesian archipelago, near Australia.

Thiss preciousss twelve thousands of yearses olds jawsbone... found in dark deep dripsy cave... thiss iss not ssomethings that's coming from tricksy hobbitses!

Hobbits... they already exist today... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768623)

The hobbits of our present time are called Little People. What are these scientists so raffed up about? If we normal humans exist today, then the ancestors of the little people existed way back then.

The AP article actually mentions Hobbits??!? (2, Interesting)

sczimme (603413) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768637)


(AP) -- Scientists say they have found more bones in an Indonesian cave that offer additional evidence of a second human species -- short and hobbit-like -- that roamed the Earth the same time as modern man.

I thought the Hobbit reference was thrown [gratuitously] into the summary to grab the attention of the /. crowd. Lo and behold, the AP actually made the comparison - interesting.

Re:The AP article actually mentions Hobbits??!? (3, Informative)

Buran (150348) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768725)

That's because the scientists did, too.

Orcs & Trolls????? (3, Insightful)

big-giant-head (148077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768644)

When they the jaw bones of some Orcs and Trolls THEN I'LL BE IMPRESSED!

Re:Orcs & Trolls????? (2, Funny)

WillyMF1 (867862) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768739)

Orcs & Trolls?????(Score:1, Troll)

LOL

Re:Orcs & Trolls????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768752)

Was this moderatted as troll due to subject matter, or content?

Re:Orcs & Trolls????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768788)

Since you've been modded as a Troll, I'd say that we already found them.

Actually... (3, Interesting)

michaelzhao (801080) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768668)

There is a pygmy like species in parts of Asia and Africa. Although they are off the species Homo Sapien, they are much shorter because they do not have a growth spurt. Scientists are really interested in them because they wonder what genes cause growth and if they can be influenced. I went to a bio conference in Atlanta with my AP Biology class to listen to one. Extremely interesting. Linkage here

ahref=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmyrel=url2ht ml-16837 [slashdot.org] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy>

Re:Actually... (1)

the phantom (107624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768765)

You are using the wrong terms here. They are not a seperate species. They are still 100% human. The term you probably wanted to use was 'race' or 'variety', though I do not think that the pygmies are generally genetically distinct enough to warrent even that much. It would probably be best to go with 'population' -- i.e.:

There are pygmy populations in parts of Asia and Africa. Although they are Homo sapiens, they are much shorter because they do not have growth spurt...

Re:Actually... (1)

michaelzhao (801080) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768792)

Thank you. You are totally correct. I used bad word choice. They are not a species by themselves. You are totally correct. Thank you...

Re:Actually... (1)

the phantom (107624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768859)

No problem. I live to correct the insignificant mistakes of others. :)

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768791)

worst. link. ever.

Re:Actually... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768916)

The issue here is not just physical stature, but cranial capacity. These "hobbits" have a braincase about a third the size of any modern human. All modern humans, irregardless of where they live or what population they belong to, all fall within the same measurement.

they found a bone in a wet cave? (1)

liquidmpls (839148) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768677)

now if it was only /. member then it would be a first for science

Flat earthers (1)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768688)

Amazing the scientific dogma involved. Apparently if you believe the naysayers there was a plague of identical birth defects on Flores. The problem is it's more than size alone. The "hobbits" have quite a number of primative features and if you look at the general shape of the skull it looks far more like Homo Erectus than a modern human. It the skeletons were dated at 500,000 years instead of 12,000 years there would have been no debate which in of itself should end the debate. The flat earthers won't accept the new species because it doesn't fit into their narrow view of history. It has nothing to do with the facts. Even if DNA is found that is not from a modern human it won't end the debate. I doubt finding a live one would completely end the issue.

DNA (2, Interesting)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768724)

If only they could find some DNA sound like a clone of these little fellas would make some great servants being established tool makers and all. On a serious side it would be interesting to see what the development of the nominal human code of ethics (ie thou shall not kill) would have been if there were some creatures alive today positioned between modern humans and chipanzees in terms of intellect.

Re:DNA (1)

the phantom (107624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768810)

Indeed, though the same could be said about Neanderthals (possily part of Homo sapiens, though the mtDNA evidence is increasingly to the other), other branches of the Homo line (i.e. Homo erectus, Homo habilis), or even the Australopithicenes. Who knows where this creature would have fit into the IQ distribution of the family tree? From the article, it sounds like they were more similar to Homo erectus than anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens).

Re:DNA (1)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768864)

nominal human code of ethics (ie thou shall not kill) would have been if there were some creatures alive today positioned between modern humans and chipanzees in terms of intellect

There was no shortage of dickheads who believed their slaves had no souls, and could be killed with impunity - and the differences were a lot less significant than they would be in this case. I'm pretty sure it would still translate into "Thou shalt not kill (your own kind)" just like it already does.

nytimes article (1)

jdunlevy (187745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768726)

From the article "Scientists Are Unmoved by Claim of New Species [nytimes.com] ":
But a vigorous minority of skeptical scientists are unmoved by the new findings. They contend that the skeletal remains are more likely to be deformed modern humans, not a distinct species.

How do they know how old it is? Carbon dating? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13768729)

Why is it that everytime someone finds something they carbon date it and then accept that as how old the object is? Carbon dating is wrong when you know how old an object is, but when you don't it is accepted as accurate information. I mean live penguins have been carbon dated at 8,000 years old http://www.angelfire.com/mi/dinosaurs/carbondating .html [angelfire.com] .

Re:How do they know how old it is? Carbon dating? (1, Troll)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768995)

I mean live penguins have been carbon dated at 8,000 years old

That's a nice link. Hallellujah brother! Of course the author of this incisive essay fails to take into account the fact that there is enough evidence of simple geological strata location to debunk any claim that dinosaurs lived only 20,000 years ago.

First it was "the dinosaurs didn't really exist!" then it was "the dinosaur bones were put there to test our faith!" and now it's "the dinosaurs are not really that old!"

Pathetic.

In related news... (0, Redundant)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768737)

The scientist who found the jawbone became increasingly irritable while hunching in a corner stroking the jawbone and repeating the words, "My...preciousssssss".

Too Late . . . (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768740)

This is a little too late--the trilogy has already been through the theaters and passed on to DVDs.

Ben

Wizard's trick (2, Funny)

ewg (158266) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768758)

Everyone knows there's no such thing as hobbits. This jaw bone must be some wizard's trick.

Better Troll (1, Troll)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768802)

In Soviet Russia Hobbit sized species bones YOU!

I guess... (1)

Chowser (888973) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768827)

I guess "The Hobbit" really is going to be made after all!!!!

Re:I guess... (1)

zcollier (583927) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768854)

Who'd a thought that The Shire would be in Indonesia?

Keep digging! (1)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768852)

Until you reach Middle Earth [taylorcustom.com] !

Wikipediaed... (1)

michaelzhao (801080) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768871)

Very interesting Wikipedia article. They species name is their location.

ahref=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiens isrel=url2html-11801 [slashdot.org] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H omo_floresiensis>

Even a picture of the skull

Re:Wikipediaed... (1)

the phantom (107624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768978)

A small bit of advice:

<a href=http://foobar.com>Barfoo</a>

The <URL:> tag does not seem to work properly.

Isengard? (1)

PyroX_Pro (579695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768879)

They're taking the hobbits to Isengard!

Actually, (2, Insightful)

mliikset (869292) | more than 8 years ago | (#13768911)

...there is only more of the same information. Those who thought that the remains were of pathological anomalies continue to think the same. I think there was some difference in the stratas that the new jawbone was found, actually an older instance.

What the microcephaly proponents fail to recognize that a stable population of pathological anomalies can't exist, once the pathology is widespread in a population it would cease to be an anomaly, at least among that population.

Microcephaly as we know it medically is kind of a self-cancelling thing, most who suffer from it would be unlikely to procreate, or compete for same even in our current society, much less so in hunter gatherer societies. No reason to think that prehistoric microcephaly wouldn't be accompanied by similar deficits as is the case today. I am not an anthropologist or paleontologist though, so I'll just stand back and watch the fur fly, so to speak.
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