Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Of Hobbits and Humans

Scientists have discovered hobbits! Read about it here!

Okay, I'm partially kidding, but the article still raises some intresting points (and issues):
"Scientists say they have found more bones in an Indonesian cave that offer additional evidence of a second human species -- short and hobbit-like -- that roamed the Earth the same time as modern man. [...] The discovery of a jaw bone, to be reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, represents the ninth individual belonging to a group believed to have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago."

This is very intresting. This also raises a problem for Creationists and IDists. Why would a designer create another species of humans, only for them to die out relatively quick? This is another great example of evolution at work.

Unfortunalty, its inconclusive:
"But the vocal scientific minority that has challenged that conclusion since the discovery of Homo floresiensis was announced last year remains unconvinced. [...] A vocal scientific minority insists the Hobbit specimens do not represent a new species at all. They believe the specimens are nothing more than the bones of modern humans that suffered from microencephaly, a broadly defined genetic disorder that results in small brain size and other defects."
Hmmm... good point. Right now we don't know.

"Daniel E. Lieberman of the Peabody Museum at Harvard said the specimens are so unusual that they deserve a more detailed analysis in order to adequately answer the critics' complaints.

'Many syndromes can cause microencephaly and dwarfism and they all need to be considered,' said Lieberman, who wrote a commentary in Nature. 'The findings are not only astonishing, but also exciting because of the questions they raise.'"

Also read it here and here.

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