The Hobbits Six Years On

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The Guardian has a long piece about the hobbits of Flores, and how they may have split from from the lineage which led to H. sapiens further back in time than had previously been assumed. In other words, where the hobbits had been theorized to have been a local adaptation of H. erectus, now the model is that they are the descendants of habilis or some other earlier hominin. In classic British style the article seems somewhat sensationalized to me, not to mention using terms that seem quaintly archaic, like “apemen.” I stopped paying attention to the hobbit stories after it seemed obvious that paleoanthropologists couldn’t agree on what they were. In other words, I’ve put it into a class similar to ALH 84001. What do readers think?

Note: Wasn’t too impressed with Mike Morwood’s book A New Human.

4 Comments

  1. I think the case for Homo floresiensis is far stronger than in the case of ALH84001. Whereas the latter seems more wishful thinking or is just too unprovable, the hobbit case seems relatively strong as the counterclaims have been refuted one after other. The biggest issue still seems to be the brain size, but apparently it could have such a small brains especially if it was of so ancient lineage. Considering how huge discovery it could be, and how maddeningly little evidence we still have, no wonder how controversial it became.

  2. Allan Hills 84001 sounds like a Beverly Hills 90210 parody. 84001 is Altamont, Utah, pop. 178, so probably there’s a polygamy twist.

  3. put it into a class similar to ALH 84001

    Ha! You need a tag for that class.

  4. This is touching on what I believe to be the single most valuable lesson I’ve learned from being a fly on the wall here at GNXP for a few years. It’s an atitude, a thinking mans approach to the world in general of quickly seperating pointless bar room philosophy from the scientific art of asking testable questions. Very intellegent people are highly succeptable to delusional thinking that they have found the truth when the humble scientific approach always holds firm that the truth is but a contradiction in terms.

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