Tiny "Flores Man" of Indonesia declared a new human species

Homo floresiensis was a kind of adorably tiny human being that lived on the island of Flores up until 18,000 years ago. Nature says "These astonishing little people, nicknamed 'hobbits', made tools, hunted tiny elephants and lived at the same time as modern humans who were colonizing the area."

There has been some debate as to whether or not the Flores Man was just descendants of Homo Sapiens "dwarfed by disease." But that debate has been settled, according to researchers from Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York who claim Homo floresiensis is a "genuine ancient human species."

200911191026Using 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.

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'Hobbits' are a new human species — according to the statistical analysis of fossils