Day By Day

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Flores "Hobbit" Update -- whoops, the fruits of academic poaching

The Mail and Advertiser reports:
Village of pygmies found near `hobbit'


INDONESIAN scientists have found a community of pygmy people in the eastern island of Flores, near a village where Australian scientists discovered a dwarf-sized skeleton in September and declared it a new human species.

The latest discovery will likely raise more controversy over the finding of Homo floresiensis claimed by Australian scientists Mike Morwood and Peter Brown in September last year.

The Australians dubbed the new species as hobbits.

The Kompas newspaper reported yesterday that the pygmy community had been found during an April 18-24 expedition in the village of Rampapasa, about 1km from the village of Liang Bua, where the species called Homo floresiensis was found.

Koeshardjono, a biologist who discovered the pygmy village, said 77 families were living in the village.

Read the whole thing here.

This should pretty much dispose of the theory that the Flores fossil represents a new human species. The article suggests that the Australian "scientists" rushed into print without ever visiting the find site or consulting with Indonesian colleagues who could have provided important evidence. I wonder, will the National Geographic, which published a lavish piece on the hobbits issue a comparable retraction?

See also here.

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