Videos : Explaining the "Hobbit", Homo Floresiensis, as a new recently discovered species - See video at the bottom of this page.
Science Friday :
Broadcasta on May 8, 2009
The Hobbit Debate
Anthropologist Bill Jungers of Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York.
Bill Jungers shows off a new cast of the most complete skeleton of Homo floresiensis -- also known as the “hobbit.” The hominid, which lived 17,000 years ago, was about sixty pounds and just over three feet tall. Jungers explains how the bones--particularly the feet--help explain where the hobbit might fit into the evolutionary tree. .
When the bones of an unusually small hominin were discovered in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, the find sparked a battle in anthropological circles: were the bones the remnants of a new species of hominin, previously unknown to science, yet alive as recently as 12000 years ago -- or were the bones in the cave from modern humans suffering from microcephaly and other bone deformations?
The argument over the bones, which have come to be nicknamed 'hobbits' due to their small size and large feet, has continued in the scientific literature ever since. This week in the journal Nature, a team of researchers make the case that Homo floresiensis was indeed a distinct species, and that the hobbits may be even more distantly related to modern humans than previously thought. We'll talk about the hobbit studies and what they tell us about human evolution.
Explaining the "Hobbit", Homo Floresiensis, as a new recently discovered species