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'Hobbits' were a distinct species after all

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Kara Sundstrom
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« on: November 22, 2015, 04:20:13 pm »

'Hobbits' were a distinct species after all
Posted on Thursday, 19 November, 2015



The Indonesian cave where the specimens were found. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Rosino / Flickr
New research has indicated that 'hobbit' remains found inside a cave actually do belong to a new species.
Ever since the fossil remains of a small hominid were discovered inside a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores back in 2003, paleoanthropologists have struggled to determine whether the skeleton belonged to a new species or to a modern human suffering from a growth disorder.

Dating back 18,000 years and with a brain the size of a grapefruit, the unusual specimen was initially given the name Homo floresiensis in the belief that it was a genuinely new species of primate.

Since then however further studies have cast doubt on this assertion, instead suggesting that its abnormally small head and body are more likely to be the result of a rare medical condition.

Fast forward to the present day and now scientists believe that they may have finally cracked the mystery once and for all thanks to a new in-depth analysis of the specimen's teeth.

According to their findings, the hobbits possessed distinctly different teeth to modern humans with traits more akin to Homo erectus - the earliest confirmed ancestor of modern humans.

The researchers concluded that the ancestors of Homo floresiensis, having become restricted to living on isolated islands, underwent dramatic dwarfism which saw their bodies shrink from 5.4ft to 3.6ft and their brains from 52 cubic inches to only 26 cubic inches.

"For me, this work will turn the tide about the question of evolutionary origin of H. floresiensis," said study lead author Yousuke Kaifu of Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo.

   
http://www.livescience.com/52839-hobbits-were-separate-species.html
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Kara Sundstrom
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2015, 04:20:59 pm »

60pt]Hobbits Were a Separate Species, Ancient Chompers Show[/size]
by Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor   |   November 18, 2015 03:45pm ET
skull of a hobbit and modern human



Endocasts of the skulls of a hobbit (left) and a modern human (right). Research by Dean Falk of Florida State University and colleagues has suggested features of the hobbit's skull more closely resembled that of a normal human than a microcephalic.
Credit: Professor Peter Brown, University of New England
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Kara Sundstrom
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2015, 04:21:24 pm »

 An ancient, 3-foot-tall (0.9 meters) human whose diminutive stature has earned it the nickname "hobbit" has puzzled evolutionary scientists since its little bones were discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores. Some have suggested the individual was a Homo sapien with some miniaturizing disorder.

Now, teeth from the hobbit suggest it belonged to a unique species rather than a modern human with a growth disorder. The new research also suggests hobbits may share a direct ancestor with modern humans.

The 18,000-year-old fossil remains of the hobbit were discovered in 2003. Since then, scientists have suggested that the hobbit, which had a brain about the size of a grapefruit, was a unique branch of the human lineage Homo, dubbed Homo floresiensis. However, other researchers have argued the hobbit was really a modern human with microcephaly, a condition that leads to an abnormally small head, a small body and some mental retardation. [Real-Life Hobbit: See Photos of Homo floresiensis]

To learn more about the hobbit, scientists have now performed the first comprehensive analysis of the ancient human's teeth. The researchers compared the 40 known hobbit teeth with those from 490 modern humans from Asia, Oceania, Africa and Europe, as well as from a variety of extinct hominins, such as Homo habilis, which is suspected to be among the first makers of stone tools. (Hominins consist of humans and their relatives dating after the split from the chimpanzee lineage.)
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Kara Sundstrom
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2015, 04:22:29 pm »




The hobbit teeth showed a mix of more primitive traits seen in early hominids and more advanced traits found in later hominins.
Credit: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.
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Kara Sundstrom
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2015, 04:22:46 pm »

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Kara Sundstrom
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2015, 04:23:48 pm »

 The researchers found hobbit teeth were as small as those from short modern humans. However, other features of these teeth looked completely dissimilar from those of modern humans.

The hobbit teeth displayed a unique mosaic of primitive traits seen in early hominins mixed with more-advanced traits seen in later hominins, the researchers said. For instance, the canine and premolar teeth looked primitive, whereas the molar teeth looked advanced, or as if they had emerged later in the evolution of Homo sapiens, the scientists said.

These findings contradict earlier claims that hobbits possessed teeth entirely like those of modern humans. The results also suggest hobbits were not just modern humans with severe abnormalities, the researchers said.

The researchers found that the hobbit's primitive dental features are most similar to specimens of Homo erectus, the earliest undisputed ancestor of modern humans, from the Indonesian island of Java. However, H. erectus was about as tall as modern humans. The scientists suggest that on isolated islands, the ancestors of the hobbit underwent dramatic dwarfism, with their bodies shrinking from about 5.4 feet (1.65 m) to 3.6 feet (1.1 m), and brains dwindling from about 52 cubic inches (860 cubic centimeters) to 26 cubic inches (426 cubic cm).

"For me, this work will turn the tide about the question of evolutionary origin of H. floresiensis," study lead author Yousuke Kaifu, a paleoanthropologist at Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo, told Live Science.

While the human lineage generally evolved larger bodies and brains over time, the hobbit suggests that isolation on islands could substantially reverse this evolutionary trend, Kaifu said.

The scientists detailed their findings online Nov. 18 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Follow Charles Q. Choi on Twitter @cqchoi. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.
http://www.livescience.com/52839-hobbits-were-separate-species.html

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Astra
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2015, 12:34:04 am »

Most likely a few, our family bush is quite extensive. And new members are added on an almost yearly basis.
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Openheimer
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2015, 12:36:24 am »

Or mated with until no pure blood was left.
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"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." - the Bhagavad Gita
DecoNoir
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2015, 12:38:03 am »

YAY! They made it to species status! I want to congratulate them personally but they are no longer around.
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I reject your reality, and substitute my own! Mostly because yours is boring as hell.
DecoNoir
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2015, 12:38:25 am »

 Huh
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I reject your reality, and substitute my own! Mostly because yours is boring as hell.
DieChecker
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2015, 12:39:53 am »

Did they locate the hobbit caves by their round doors?
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Gollum
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2015, 12:41:58 am »



My precious!
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Gollum
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2015, 12:43:26 am »

My precious!
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The Creeper
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2015, 12:47:35 am »

Due to the way today's science approaches the unknown, it will always be last to the table. This is great news, OLD news, but great news. Vietnam helicopter pilots reported running into these beings during the war. There's also been a couple of resident biologists onsite there now for years.
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DieChecker
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2015, 03:41:01 am »

A lot of kids have heads that are that small, but they seem to talk, fight, plot, lie, sneak, and find stuff to eat just fine.
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