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Scientists Hope To Settle "Hobbit" Debate

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the little-men dept.

Lord of the Rings 164

Several readers wrote in with news of the debate around the identity of an ancient woman whose diminutive skeleton was found on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2004. Fox News reports that Australian scientists have discovered a subterranean chamber that may contain DNA proof that will settle the question of whether "the Hobbit," as the specimen is called, actually is a representative of a new branch of the human family, or not. The find's discoverers named the putative new race Homo floresiensis. Others in the anthropological field question this identification, arguing that the meter-tall Hobbit was a modern human who had something wrong with her. In a paper just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, with one of the original discovery team as co-author, researchers say they have compared the Hobbit's skull to those of modern humans with various ailments such as microcephaly, and that the Hobbit is different.

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Trolls too... (5, Funny)

racecarj (703239) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809912)

Another one of Tolkien's races has been discovered: Trolls, it seems, are native to the slashdot community.

Re:Trolls too... (5, Funny)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810024)

Hobbits suffer from microcephaly but Trolls suffer from microphallus, which is quite different.

Re:Trolls too... (-1, Troll)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810188)

Preeeetty good troll there. Trying to admit something?

Re:Trolls too... (2, Informative)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810288)

Why the hell is this modded informative ?

Re: Trolls too... (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810386)

> Hobbits suffer from microcephaly but Trolls suffer from microphallus, which is quite different.

Is that the syndrome that makes guys buy humongous pickup trucks and drive 20mph faster than the flow of traffic?

Re: Trolls too... (-1, Flamebait)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810982)

No, That disease is also asociated with waking up one moring and remembering you live in a country called the United States of America and you can buy a humongous pickup truck that goes 20 MPH faster then the flow of trafic.

Those people who don't like it probably have yet realized that some things in life are good just because "you can do them". Some say the feeling makes you think you live in the greatest country in the world too. Especial when you realize you can actualy afford all the fuel needed to drive a humongous pickup truck 20 MPH faster then the flow of trafic. (speeding tickets aside)

I think the condition is called "selfish american syndrom" or something and I proud to be self diagnosed with it! Although My humongous 4x4 pickup truck is more or less out of neccesity, I don't think I would trade it for anything else (even if i didn't have a need for it).

Re: Trolls too... (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810998)

> Although My humongous 4x4 pickup truck is more or less out of neccesity, I don't think I would trade it for anything else (even if i didn't have a need for it).

Bah, real men drive six-wheeled armored cars.

With a great big gun sticking out the front...

Re: Trolls too... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811060)

lol, I carry a shotgun in the gun rack in the back window. It's aomewhat closer.

Re: Trolls too... (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811546)

I don't know about the rest of you but I live in Montana and I walk....
I think it's more manly to carry everything on your back and walk anyhow...
Now using your bike....that's a real man's game (teh ice suxor in montana)

Re: microcephaly - microphallusy (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810888)

The condition of having a "microphallus" would be "microphallusy," no?

With different spelling, it would also indicate the sort of "little deception" that sufferers of this disorder might use when discussing matters of size.

--jrd

Don't Laugh (1)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810204)

When I first read this I thought it was about the next Hobbit film, and how Jackson was acquitted of all charges.

Re:Trolls too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811004)

Cue Creationism vs Evolution debate in 3...2...1...

Perhaps but let's get specific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17812204)

Hobbits may live in Indonesia, but you won't find trolls there since they all live in Norway (http://www.trolltech.com)

Great but... (3, Funny)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809926)

Now they will have to find what came between Homo Sapian and Homo Floresiensis. /ducks for cover.

Re:Great but... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810322)

It's "sapiens", not "Sapian", you twat. That's three mistakes in one word.

And we will call it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810876)

Smallfoot

I don't wanna be a pinhead no more..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809936)

I just met a nurse I could go for...........

D..U..M..B ! everyones accusin' Me!

hmmm (5, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809976)

Others in the anthropological field question this identification, arguing that the meter-tall Hobbit was a modern human who had something wrong with her.

Maybe she just hobbitually ate a poor diet.

Re:hmmm (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810200)

I'm pretty shire that's the case.

Re:hmmm (5, Funny)

Bamafan77 (565893) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810868)

I can't confirm it, but it certainly rings true.

Re:hmmm (2, Funny)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811868)

So I guess you wouldn't swear on a Bilbo?

In other news (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810246)

Others in the anthropological field question this identification, arguing that the meter-tall Hobbit was a modern human who had something wrong with her.
In other news, a group of short modern humans start a lawsuit against the "others" in the anthropological field for height discrimination.

Modern human who had something wrong with her (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17809982)

Extremely short parents.

Me being cynical (3, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810012)

Others in the anthropological field question this identification, arguing that the meter-tall Hobbit was a modern human who had something wrong with her.

Right -- they're the ones that don't get the publicity or funding. Come on, how boring is that -- that the meter-tall body was just an abnormal human? Wouldn't it be so much *cooler* if there were a whole race of these!

Re:Me being cynical (1)

GMontag (42283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810052)

I am going with the "just a short person" theory too. Early polling indicates that we may be in the minority on this topic. Better keep my regular job.

Re:Me being cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810138)

I think in order to prove hobbitude, we'll need to establish first that
  1. She was of a peaceful nature
  2. She was not in a hurry
  3. She was taking it slow
Since she was 1 metre tall, it is not an issue at this point as to whether she was brave or not since it is above 3 feet, which removes her from the category of "little hobbit". Most likely, the above can't be proven so she'll be stashed away in a wooden box next to the ark of the covenant.

Even more cynical.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810252)

Yeah, and if only they'd made it to the ark on time.

Re:Me being cynical (3, Funny)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810488)

Come on, how boring is that -- that the meter-tall body was just an abnormal human? Wouldn't it be so much *cooler* if there were a whole race of these!

Yeah, unfortunately science is decided based on empirical observation, not whose theory is cooler.

Re:Me being cynical (5, Funny)

hobbesmaster (592205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810618)

Tell that to string physicists.

Re:Me being cynical (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810826)

You've obviously never seen a bunch of scientists blowing shit up in a microwave.

Re:Me being cynical (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811672)

You've obviously never seen a bunch of scientists blowing shit up in a microwave.

Nor have you... but you have probably seen a bunch of trendy TV presenters in white lab coats blowing shit up in a microwave... ;-)

Re:Me being cynical (1)

Nulagrithom (998099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810988)

*sigh* If only it were so...

You'll read a few more headlines Lucless, and then you'll see the light. It's all about the headlines.

Re:Me being cynical (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811078)

That decides who gets the funding, not who's right.

Re:Me being cynical (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810804)

Y'know, instead of snarking you might actually considering reading the articles, including the paper detailing the "hobbits". There are some very, very good reasons to think that this is a new form of human. For one, there are multiple specimens - not just one. For another, as detailed in the summary, the structures don't mimic other forms of dwarfism in modern humans. Island dwarfism has been observed in many different species - there really isn't any reason to think humans should be exempt from this.

Most notably, a few of those arguing against it have tended to do so for religious, and not scientific reasons, which is always a huge warning sign that their opinions should be treated with caution.

Skepticism is a good trait to have - but when you are irrationally skeptical to the available evidence, to the point of closemindedness than you are no better than somebody who is overly gullible.

For a relatively balanced opinion on the debate surrounding LB1, you could go to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis). Perhaps after reading that, you could reserve the snark and unwarranted insult of the investigating scientists, and actually learn a little about how science is conducted.

Teh Effin Summary (3, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810014)

For whatever reason, the summary links to page two of the article. Page one is here [reuters.com]

JS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810740)

reuters uses JS for linkage, and when you mash the back button to go back to the first page to grab the link, it remains page two in the url bar.

Bad JS there, I see it all the time.

Get with the answers already! (3, Insightful)

Rodyland (947093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810082)

I don't know about anyone else, but I've been waiting since the discovery was first announced for a definitive answer on this matter.

If this represents a new species of human, and given how recently this species is shown to have lived, then whole textbooks on the subject will likely need rewriting. I find it quite exciting, and I'm not even an anthropologist.

As an aside, I'm also quite interested to see what the bible-thumpers eventually come to make of all of this.

Re:Get with the answers already! (0, Offtopic)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810118)

42

KFG

Re:Get with the answers already! (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810394)

I'm sorry, what was the question?

Re:Get with the answers already! (1)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810758)

I would tell you, but I was raised to believe that answering a question with another question is rude.

Re:Get with the answers already! (3, Insightful)

and ladders (986311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810156)

"As an aside, I'm also quite interested to see what the bible-thumpers eventually come to make of all of this." Bible thumpers will make of it what they make of every instance of evolution: God's hand at work. A 3 foot (or whatever it is) tall homonid isn't going to change their minds, given that there are many examples of evolution right in front of their eyes that they refuse to accept.

Re:Get with the answers already! (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810418)

Bible thumpers will make of it what they make of every instance of evolution: God's hand at work.

More like God's foot, Monty Python-style.

Re: Get with the answers already! (3, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810428)

> "As an aside, I'm also quite interested to see what the bible-thumpers eventually come to make of all of this." Bible thumpers will make of it what they make of every instance of evolution: God's hand at work. A 3 foot (or whatever it is) tall homonid isn't going to change their minds, given that there are many examples of evolution right in front of their eyes that they refuse to accept.

Actually, lots of them already dismiss Neanderthals and older species as humans with arthritus. Some make the blanket claim that the whole lineage represents just two species, cleanly divided into humans and apes.

I was amused to hear an anthropologist offer the same argument against this specimen...

Re: Get with the answers already! (1)

and ladders (986311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810736)

Hmm. Two species you write. Does this mean that chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans are considered one species (of course I am leaving out the south american primates) and all species of Homo the second.

Haven't seen this hypothesis in too many scientific publications. Perhaps you would be willing to offer references to this classification?

Re: Get with the answers already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17812002)

Yes well, he should have used the word "kinds" instead of species. Species is not a concept the bible thumpers understand. So one kind is us, the other kind is all the apes. Anything up to Homo Erectus is ape. Everything else is us, possibly suffering from disease, most likely caused by sin. Anything that doesn't fit is either ignored, shouted down, the work of the devil or a miracle.

There you go, that should clear things up.

Re: Get with the answers already! (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811048)

You could make the same or very simular claims and not even be on a religious quest. Ever heard of the buble theory and the evolution path it follows? It is a science oriented form of evolution not some so called wacked out creationist belief either.

The current popular theory isn't the only one out there. And it isn't a definate fact of anything, it is a theory. It could be wrong even if just to some degree.

Re: Get with the answers already! (1)

GTMoogle (968547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17812198)

Do you have a link? I can find no references whatsoever to 'bubble theory' in an evolutionary context.

Re:Get with the answers already! (3, Insightful)

Hucko (998827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810482)

You do know that 'argument' can be slightly modified and the only true difference would be a few nouns and academic acceptance.

I have heard it used so it is not that remote an idea...

Evolutionists will make of it what they make of every instance of God's Hand at work: Evolution. A suddenly appearing, fully developed oganism isn't going to change their minds, given that there are many examples of God's Hand at work right in front of their eyes that they refuse to accept

FTA "But the other strong possibility is that this is actually just a pathological modern human," Martin added."
Shall we wait for further study?

Re:Get with the answers already! (1)

and ladders (986311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810608)

Good try, but I made no reference (nor did the article) to "A suddenly appearing, fully developed oganism." What we are discussing here is a (slightly) modified hominid, with a shorter stature (among other attributes). I did not use the word "argument" either.

Re:Get with the answers already! (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811206)

no, but that would be the statement reversed. yeah, i shouldn't have put quotes around it. forgive me :)

Biblical Confirmation (2, Funny)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810548)

There is line in the bible that says something like "There were midgets in the earth in those days" I am sure of it.

Re:Get with the answers already! (2, Interesting)

sorak (246725) | more than 7 years ago | (#17812056)

"As an aside, I'm also quite interested to see what the bible-thumpers eventually come to make of all of this." Bible thumpers will make of it what they make of every instance of evolution: God's hand at work. A 3 foot (or whatever it is) tall homonid isn't going to change their minds, given that there are many examples of evolution right in front of their eyes that they refuse to accept.

Well, one of the more the mainstream evangelical views (among people not yelling at each other on news networks) is that time is relative to god, and, therefore, it is possible that by 7 days, the Bible meant "7 eras of unknown duration" (seem a little like "the meaning of the word 'is'" to me, but o.k.). This view can be used to justify belief both in God, and Dinosaurs, as well as hobbits. Someone else posted that if "The Hobbit" is a missing link, then we just have to find the next missing link. Good call. That's exactly what many mainstream evangelicals will claim. They will say "that's nice. You did all your laboratory hoopajoob and said that he's similar, but how do you know he evolved into us? Well, prove it by finding the missing link between him and us."

The nuttier view is that either god or the devil buried "the Hobbit", along with all kinds of other half-decayed bones, in the earth, on the day it was created, and that either god or the devil created beams of light that appeared to have hit an object millions of light years away, millions of light years ago, and were in mid transit to earth. I've never met anyone in person who could explain that view. The nuttiest Christian I ever met would just get pissed off and claim that the evidence was all made up and that evolution was all a big conspiracy.

Re: Get with the answers already! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810262)

> I don't know about anyone else, but I've been waiting since the discovery was first announced for a definitive answer on this matter.

Unless one side has just been sandbagging -- i.e., if there's actually good reason for the uncertainty -- it's doubtful that a single publication will provide a definitive answer.

Re:Get with the answers already! (4, Informative)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810686)

There really isn't much debate about it. There's dogma about only Homo Sapeins surviving past the Neaderthal extinction then the facts on the other side. The skull looks exactly like a Homo Erectus including the brain case. There are no Homo Sapein skulls no matter how diseased that match it. The brain case scans were the smoking gun. The only thing different from Homo Erectus is the size. She's well below the size range for an adult Erectus so there was a form of downsizing involved since it's unlikely she's an off shoot she's most likely a decendant of Homo Erectus. The fact all the other bones in the cave were of the same size and represent several indiviuals should put to rest it was a disease. I tend to doubt they had a leper colony for individuals with that disease. Her brain size is also proportionally small for an Erectus but the structures are all correct just smaller. It's probably a result of a poor diet that lead to the downsizing. There's resistence to changing the history of hominids but outside of dogma the test thus far have left little doubt the skeleton is not Homo Sapein and most likely a downsized Erectus.

Re:Get with the answers already! (2, Funny)

and ladders (986311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810796)

Please stop posting. You are clouding a good, emotional debate with facts. Mind you, this is /. and we have no interest in facts, just emotional responses to TFA.

Re:Get with the answers already! (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810994)

Then there is the strange behaviour of one Dr Jacob who commendered the bones on behalf of the Indonesian state, cut off access to them by other scientists (including the discoverers), published his own ideas, and refused to allow digging to continue.

I understand the Indonesians want control over their own heritige and they are certainly entitled to it, but if it were not for this one man's apparent desire to dictate the conclusion we would have more data and less dogma.

"The fact all the other bones in the cave were of the same size and represent several indiviuals should put to rest it was a disease."

Thanks, for a while there I thought my memory was faulty. IIRC there were 9 indiviuals and one skull found before Jacob shut them down.

It's not a new species- RTFA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810860)

August 22, 2006 issue of Proceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences (one of the world's most prestigious--and resoundingly evolutionary--scientific bodies) has published a paper that concludes that the original evaluation of the remains was flawed. The report stated, 'The skeletal remains do not represent a new species, but some of the ancestors of modern human pygmies who live on the island today.'2 This may be referring to reports of a community of 'pygmy Negritos' living less than a mile away from the site (http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20196095-170 2,00.html - Indon hobbit was 'disabled caveman', 20 Aug 2006).

Interested to see why you need to be a bible-thumper to refute media sensationalism over science...

Hobbit test (1)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810124)

1. Was she found with lots of food, ale and smokes around her? 2. Was she wearing a ring? 3. Was she found near some place no one can pronounce, but that was surrounded by avalanching mountains and moving forests? 4. Was she found looking longingly into another female hobbit's eyes for uncomfortably long periods of time?

Re:Hobbit test (2, Funny)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810532)

2. Was she wearing a ring?
Of course not. If she was, they wouldn't have found her.

And who is going to direct this research? (5, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810136)

Paul Verhoeven

Kevin Smith

George Lucas

Allan Parker

Steven Spielberg

Ridley Scott

Beorn(who?)

or CowboyNeal?

Re:And who is going to direct this research? (1)

EightySeven (1033190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810454)

Beorn! No one in their right mind would question his authority!

more like (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810162)

homo sexuals.

Hey faggot! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810186)

They're not gay, they're hobbits.

$100 says that.... (1)

brado77 (686260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810202)

...there's a pair of black socks and a pair of Birkenstocks behind this study...

creation i tells you (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810316)

no doubt some fucking ass will come on here and say this is yet more proof that god mad man as is, that we were never monkeys, because we are yet to discover a few pieces of the puzzle. they will also say how it's "just a theory" even though gravity is just a theory as well (wish some of them would test the theory of gravity by jumping off some cliffs, ridding us of their stupidity)

Re:creation i tells you (1)

Xeirxes (908329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810542)

Well, unfortunately we have enough scientific evidence; some of us still ARE monkeys.

Re:creation i tells you (1)

Froeschle (943753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811054)

Didn't God create humans from monkeys?

Re:creation i tells you (1)

FecesFlingingRhesus (806117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17812040)

tell me about it.

Re:creation i tells you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810574)

I ain't saying "that we were never monkeys," but I am saying that I have felt some extreme emotions and have learned to trust my gut. I know SOMEONE is watching out for me. Yea I know you too and everyone else. That is right, you and everyone else. :) As far as gravity and any theories are concerned all we really know is that there is an attraction, and it's properties. That is it. We think it is a force. Or maybe not, but more like a trampoline with a heavy bowling ball in the middle, or maybe it is like...

Is it just me (3, Interesting)

and ladders (986311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810328)

or does anyone else find it striking that Foxnews.com has an "Evolution and Paleontology Center" (http://www.foxnews.com/science/evolution/). Certainly, W doesn't approve of this.

Re:Is it just me (1)

dnabrickwall (956609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810414)

What W doesn't know won't hurt him. Besides, he would be delighted to know that Fox is laying bait for all the non-believers. Their day will come, friend. Their day will come.

Re:Is it just me (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810792)

I knew it was Fox when they talked about "obtaining a CSI-style DNA profile of the three-foot-tall creatures..."

Re:Is it just me (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811594)

csi.....cbs......fox.......wha?

Re:Is it just me (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811970)

Not remarking on a commercial connection, but the idea of explaining the concept of DNA by reference to a TV drama.

Subject Icon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810408)

Why the hell does this have a LOTR icon? Isn't this science? For fucks sake editors, use the categorisation/labelling of stories properly.

Re:Subject Icon (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810450)

it's labeled as science if you can't tell from the title on the frontpage. i think the icons can be independently selected. thats how articles about MS/Linux/etc. can have their respective icons. and besides... HOBBITS!!!!

Re:Subject Icon (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810584)

because hobbits are in LOTR you fucking retard.

Re:Subject Icon (2, Insightful)

and ladders (986311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810666)

My question is why the hell is their an Einstein icon. He was a physicist for *@!$'s sake.

Can't we get an icon of Dawkins? Or are we to assume that physics and biology are one in the same?

Re:Subject Icon (1)

bitbucketeer (892710) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810848)

It's Einstein with a ring for a halo. It's very punny.

Re:Subject Icon (1)

lemur666 (313121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810906)

Physics and biology are the same. Well, there's some chemistry stuck in between the two, but you can't have chemistry without physics!

Although technically you can't explain physics without math...

Quick, someone snap a photo of Pythagoras and slap it up there!

Or maybe we should just stick with the "Scientist Personified" iconic representation that's being used now.

Or Richard Feynman.

aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810432)

Well obviously its an alien!

If it was a hobbit you ought to be able to tell by the hairy feet. I see none!

I for one... (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810624)

..welcome our Hobbit overlords.
/ducks and runs

Re:I for one... (3, Funny)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811882)

dude . . . UNDERLORDS!

Hmm... (4, Interesting)

SinGunner (911891) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810652)

Wouldn't it be interesting if we hadn't likely killed off all these competitors in prehistory and some were left around. What kind of rights would neanderthals get? Surely they wouldn't be treated like animals. And if they were still around, I think religion would be a very different thing.

Re:Hmm... (1)

and ladders (986311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810704)

Oh please, because you assume that europeans and their descendants wouldn't consider neanderthals just one rung below Africans or Native Americans? Just one more race in need of "civilization." Organized religion has no problems with hierarchy.

Re:Hmm... (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811114)

In relating to another species or race humans will do one of the following:

  1. Eradicate
  2. Domesticate/enslave

Given that white people like me only started taking black people seriously about 50 years ago I can only assume that the neanderthals would be considered a sub-human slave species like cattle, dogs, etc.

Perhaps we wiped them out because they were too smart to be enslaved with the technology of the time.

Re:Hmm... (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811608)

Perhaps we wiped them out because they were too smart to be enslaved with the technology of the time.

Maybe you should look at the other side of that....maybe we were the smart Pygmy..s? Pymgmii....any way....yea that needs a plural form....

Re:Hmm... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811982)

Historically, humans haven't really even bothered to sort slaves by race.

The exact racial lineage is tough to nail down, but it is fairly likely that many a white person like you took a Moor seriously once in a while.

National Geographic settled this last year... (4, Informative)

Mikenotmike (956042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810720)

National Geographic had a whole hour long special on this subject that I watched about 4 or 5 months ago. As the article below states, there was MORE than one set of bones found, while the girl mentioned in today's articles was the only COMPLETE skeleton, there was several other partial bone sets recovered that were equally comparable in size. Also in the documentary they rebuilt the skull and sent it to several specialists, who confirmed that it was in fact not a case of microcephallis. So todays articles seem like old news, AND they're confusing everyone by not mentioning the other bone sets recovered on site. What I haven't seen anyone address is whether they could have been premordial dwarfs... but considering how few of those there are in the world, the likelyhood of several being found in the save small island seems rare, but not unpossible. ~Mentions multiple skeletons... http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/10 27_041027_homo_floresiensis.html [nationalgeographic.com] and the video description http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/channel/blog/20 05/03/explorer_hobbit.html [nationalgeographic.com]

Re:National Geographic settled this last year... (3, Informative)

Nurseferatu (946800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810780)

Actually one form of dwarfism is the result of a genetic mutation and can be inherited. This would make a family of small people a possibility, possibly shunned by the larger group and left on their own. But this would be pretty easy to distinguish due to the distinctive formation of bones that occurs as these children grow.

Re:National Geographic settled this last year... (1)

Mikenotmike (956042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810816)

But no one ever seems to mention it, premodrial dwarfism is one of the rarest types, most distinguishable in that the dwarfs are actually virtually completely proportionate, like the skeletons found. I'd seem them before but my sudden rush of knowledge comes from the discovery channel special I saw on them last night, they too were compared to microcephallics and said to not be the same. I would think they would have at least been considered and ruled out, but being such an obvious possibility, why doesn't anyone mention it.

Re:National Geographic settled this last year... (1)

ashooner (834246) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810972)

The specimen found is not 'completely proportionate.' I seem to remember it being described as having no chin.

Re:National Geographic settled this last year... (1)

streptocopter (1052066) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811162)

They also had unproportionally long legs for their body size. Ever see a midget with long legs? Except for Arnold Schwarzenegger that is.

Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, I'll wager (1)

OldManAndTheC++ (723450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810844)

...Australian scientists have discovered a subterranean chamber...

Did it have a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny brass knob in the exact middle?

New Species (2, Informative)

Aneurysm (680045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811144)

According to this [bbc.co.uk] news article from the BBC, it does appear to be a new species. This was posted yesterday and the study compares modern microencephalics skulls with the skulls found on Flores.

Talk about misleading topic lines... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811890)

So they are going to clone a Peter Jackson that hasn't sued New Line Cinema?

Jakarta Jackson (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811902)

The real cause of the extinction of the hobbit is New Line Cinema.

It's not like we need scientists... (1)

kalpaha (667921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17812228)

Can't they just go by the results of the Slashdot poll on who should direct the Hobbit? It's not like we need scientists to decide on that?

Oh wait, what was the article about again? Is there anyone, who's new here who could tell us?

"Subterranean chamber" (3, Funny)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17812354)

Ok, they knew as soon as they saw this subterranean chamber that it was a hobbit hole, because it wasn't a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat.

QED.
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