Archaeology 'Hobbit' fossil likely represents new branch on human family tree

Discussion in 'Archaeology' started by mscbkc070904, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    \'Hobbit\' fossil likely represents new branch on human family tree

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  2. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    FSU anthropologist leads incredible journey through \'hobbit\' brain

    Findings counter conventional wisdom on brain size vs. intelligence
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State University professor and chair of anthropology Dean Falk led an international team of scientists on an incredible virtual journey through the tiny brain of an 18,000 year-old hobbit-sized human. What they found has upended conventional evolutionary wisdom on the relationship of brain size to intelligence.
    Findings from "The Brain of LB1, #@!&% Floresiensis" appear in the March 3 edition of Science Express, the online version of the journal Science, and will be featured in a March 13 special edition of Explorer on the National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. EST/PST.

    "The discovery of this species has flummoxed the field of anthropology," said Falk. "I believe it equals or surpasses the identification of other ancestors such as the Taung hominin in 1925, which marked the birth of modern paleoanthropology and sparked an ongoing debate on human evolution."

    Last October, skeletal remains of a bipedal adult female barely 36 inches tall were unearthed by Australian and Indonesian researchers on the Indonesian island of Flores. The new dwarf human species was catalogued as LB1, #@!&% floresiensis, and nicknamed "hobbit."

    With a brain one-third the size of a contemporary human's, LB1 had a blend of #@!&% erectus traits -- like a sloping forehead -- and more familiar #@!&% sapiens characteristics. It co-existed during the 25,000 millennia that #@!&% sapiens was presumed, until recently, to be Earth's sole human inhabitant. Given the hobbit's small brain, Falk, a paleoneurologist, was intrigued by the sophisticated tools and evidence of fire that archaeologists uncovered near the remains.

    With funding from the National Geographic Society, Falk and a team at Washington University Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in St. Louis used a process to reproduce the hobbit's external brain features, creating an endocast -- a three-dimensional model -- based on computer tomography (CT) data gathered in Indonesia. Falk also created a physical endocast out of latex. Together they provided a detailed map of imprints left on LB1's braincase that corresponded to the once-living organ's shape, grooves, vessels and sinuses.

    "I thought the #@!&% floresiensis brain would look like a chimp's," Falk said. "I was wrong. There were fancier things on LB1's brain."

    The endocasts revealed a surprising and significant swelling of the frontal lobe, along with other anatomical features consistent with higher cognitive processes. Those features, which correlate to initiative-taking and advanced planning, might explain the tools and signs of cooperative activities in LB1's cave despite the primitive size of its brain.

    Researchers verified blood vessels and other markings to make sure they were relevant brain components and not simply artifacts left by a post-mortem impact. The intricate images were compared to other endocasts from a variety of sources such as chimpanzees, an adult female #@!&% erectus, a contemporary woman, an adult female pygmy and a microcephalic -- a human with an abnormally small skull.

    Falk contends that her team's exhaustive analysis refutes skeptics' suppositions that #@!&% floresiensis was either a pygmy or a microcephalic. "The scaling of brain to body isn't at all what we'd expect to find in pygmies, and the shape is all wrong to be a microcephalic. This is something new."

    The brain study supports the notion that the evolution of #@!&% floresiensis, a new species but closely related to #@!&% erectus, either reflected island dwarfing in response to limited food supplies or indicated that the two species may have shared an unknown, small-bodied and small-brained ancestor.
  3. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    Hobbit skeleton \'damaged\'

    Why cant we all just get along, what a load crap.
  4. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    Update: Scientists Outraged over Damage to \'Hobbit\' Remains

    Inside Liang Bua cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, the bones of the hobbit rested undisturbed for 18,000 years.
    But no longer.

    In what is being called a true case of scientific skullduggery, the remains of the newly discovered human species have suffered irreparable damage since entering the care of paleontologists.

    The damage to the bones of this diminutive being -- named #@!&% floresiensis and nicknamed hobbit by scientists -- is so extensive that it will limit scholarly research on the species, say members of the Indonesian Center for Archaeology-based discovery team.

    Considered the most important discovery in human origins in five decades, the remains are marred by broken jaws and smashed bones.

    "The equivalent in the world of art would be somebody slashing the Mona Lisa and then trying to fix it with chewing gum," says paleontologist Tim White of the University of California-Berkeley, who was not on the discovery team.

    Reported in October's Nature magazine by a team of Australian and Indonesian researchers, the discovery of #@!&% floresiensis shocked paleontologists. The beings lived on Flores from at least 94,000 to 13,000 years ago, making them the only human species besides Neanderthals that lived alongside modern man, #@!&% sapiens, in ancient times.

    Despite having chimp-sized brains and standing about 3 feet tall, they hunted pygmy elephants and Komodo dragons using complex stone blades and axes like those then wielded by modern humans.

    A reconstruction of the hobbit's face is on the cover of April's National Geographic, and the National Geographic Channel's Search for the Ultimate Survivor (April 1, 8 p.m. ET) highlights hobbit links to pre-human species.

    Rest of Story
  5. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    More bones of hobbit-sized humans discovered
    New find adds to controversy over remains on Indonesian island

    It is so amazing the things we find on our own earth. We still only have a few clues at how be became us. Wonderful discovery
  6. trinitrotoluene

    trinitrotoluene Premium Member

    I really hope there was no such thing as a Hobbit because that would only revive the Lord of the Rings craze... something that the world could do without.

    I am against making classic books into movies. I am also against making classic movies into new movies. I still owe Eddie Murphy 5 or 6 noogies for doing Dr. Poolittle, The Nutless Professor, and a few others.

    Did you hear they are remaking KING KONG? What a CROCK!