STONY BROOK, NY – A skeleton cast of the possibly new species nicknamed “The Hobbit” has gone on display for the first time.
The skeleton of Homo floresiensis was discovered in 2003 in Indonesia. Scientists continue to argue whether the remains are that of a human dwarf or an entirely new hominin species. The discovery of partial remains of eight other individuals as well as small stone tools have left researchers puzzled.
The Homo floresiensis would have only stood about three feet tall, weighed around 70 pounds, walked upright and may have hunted and used fire.
The cast was on display at Stony Brook University during a one-day symposium that debated the nature of the proposed new species. One anthropologist, Dean Falk, explained how she had compared the size and shape of the brain to various other kinds, including chimpanzees, the early species Homo erectus, and humans with a disorder called microcephaly, a common hypotheses for those who believe the Homo floresiensis are merely deformed humans.
Falk stated, “In our view we dispensed at that point with the microcephaly hypothesis. It’s not just that their brains are small; they’re differently shaped. It’s its own species.”
Homo floresiensis is thought to have survived until as recently as 12,000 years ago. If it is ultimately considered an entirely new species, it will considered the longest-lasting non-modern human, surviving long past the Neanderthals by at least 12,000 years!