Navigation Links
'Hobbits' are a new human species -- according to the statistical analysis of fossils
Date:11/19/2009

Researchers from Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York have confirmed that Homo floresiensis is a genuine ancient human species and not a descendant of healthy humans dwarfed by disease. Using statistical analysis on skeletal remains of a well-preserved female specimen, researchers determined the "hobbit" to be a distinct species and not a genetically flawed version of modern humans. Details of the study appear in the December issue of Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society, published by Wiley-Blackwell.

In 2003 Australian and Indonesian scientists discovered small-bodied, small-brained, hominin (human-like) fossils on the remote island of Flores in the Indonesian archipelago. This discovery of a new human species called Homo floresiensis has spawned much debate with some researchers claiming that the small creatures are really modern humans whose tiny head and brain are the result of a medical condition called microcephaly.

Researchers William Jungers, Ph.D., and Karen Baab, Ph.D. studied the skeletal remains of a female (LB1), nicknamed "Little Lady of Flores" or "Flo" to confirm the evolutionary path of the hobbit species. The specimen was remarkably complete and included skull, jaw, arms, legs, hands, and feet that provided researchers with integrated information from an individual fossil.

The cranial capacity of LB1 was just over 400 cm, making it more similar to the brains of a chimpanzee or bipedal "ape-men" of East and South Africa. The skull and jawbone features are much more primitive looking than any normal modern human. Statistical analysis of skull shapes show modern humans cluster together in one group, microcephalic humans in another and the hobbit along with ancient hominins in a third.

Due to the relative completeness of fossil remains for LB1, the scientists were able to reconstruct a reliable body design that was unlike any modern human. The thigh bone and shin bone of LB1 are much shorter than modern humans including Central African pygmies, South African KhoeSan (formerly known as 'bushmen") and "negrito" pygmies from the Andaman Islands and the Philippines. Some researchers speculate this could represent an evolutionary reversal correlated with "island dwarfing." "It is difficult to believe an evolutionary change would lead to less economical movement," said Dr. Jungers. "It makes little sense that this species re-evolved shorter thighs and legs because long hind limbs improve bipedal walking. We suspect that these are primitive retentions instead."

Further analysis of the remains using a regression equation developed by Dr. Jungers indicates that LB1 was approximately 106 cm tall (3 feet, 6 inches)far smaller than the modern pygmies whose adults grow to less than 150 cm (4 feet, 11 inches). A scatterplot depicts LB1 far outside the range of Southeast Asian and African pygmies in both absolute height and body mass indices. "Attempts to dismiss the hobbits as pathological people have failed repeatedly because the medical diagnoses of dwarfing syndromes and microcephaly bear no resemblance to the unique anatomy of Homo floresiensis," noted Dr. Baab.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dawn Peters
physicalsciencenews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Gene regulation, not just genes, is what sets humans apart
2. Antioxidant overload may underlie a heritable human disease
3. Facial attraction -- choice of sexual partner shaped the human face
4. Humans fostering forest-destroying disease
5. SRMs track fire retardants in humans and environment
6. St. Jude influenza survey uncovers key differences between bird flu and human flu
7. Human derived stem cells can repair rat hearts damaged by heart attack
8. Influence of sex and handedness on brain is similar in capuchin monkeys and humans
9. Gene regulation in humans is closer than expected to simple organisms
10. Pittsburgh scientists identify human source of stem cells with potential to repair muscle
11. Researchers developing device to predict proper light exposure for human health
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/15/2016)... CHICAGO , April 15, 2016  A ... companies make more accurate underwriting decisions in a ... offering timely, competitively priced and high-value life insurance ... health screenings. With Force Diagnostics, rapid ... and lifestyle data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... , April 14, 2016 ... Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of Eyal ... new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at ... heels of the deployment of its platform at several ... biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... 31, 2016   ... the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release ... soon to be launched online site for trading 100% ... ) will also provide potential shareholders a sense of ... to an industry that is notorious for fraud. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... NDA Partners Chairman Carl ... an Expert Consultant. Mr. Clark was formerly a Vice President with US ... small molecule monographs based on analytical methods. NDA Partners Expert Consultants are ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group ... Asia-Pacific Symposium as other research and development initiatives for potential stem cell protocol management ... Global Stem Cells Group executives began meeting to establish a working agenda and foster ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... BaseHealth , the ... the company as Chief Business Officer. Arianpour, a genomics pioneer and visionary commercial ... was most recently Chief Commercial Officer of Pathway Genomics. He has held senior ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... This unique "Fertility Happy Hour" event will be ... opportunity to get the lowdown on female fertility and the reproductive technologies that are ... Hade, of Boston IVF - The Arizona Center, will give a short presentation and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: