Floresiensis fight comes to a head, according to reports in news@nature, BBC News and ScienceNOW, 3 Mar 2005. In October 2004 a skull and some bones found on the Indonesian island of Flores were presented to the world as a new species of human beings, scientifically named Homo floresiensis and popularly referred to as “the fossil Hobbit”. However, some scientists were not convinced it was a new species and suggested that the bones were from a pygmy human or a human with a deformity of the head named microcephaly. A new study of the skull has fuelled the debate. A team of scientists headed by Dean Falk of Florida State University have made a model of its brain based on a computerised x-ray scan of the skull. They compared their model with those from a normal human, a microcephalic human, a pygmy, Homo erectus and some living and extinct apes. They concluded that the brain was different from all of these, being the size of an ape brain, but having some features similar to Homo erectus. They also noted that overall brain size in relation to the overall body size is similar to Australopithecines (meaning southern apes) – a group of extinct apes that includes “Lucy”. The scientists who found the bones claim these findings reinforce their belief that they are from a new type of human that was intelligent enough to make and use the stone tools that were found in the cave near the bones. However, the sceptics remain unconvinced, and want more comparisons with microcephalic skulls.

Editorial Comment: This study supports the belief that H. floresiensis is a previously undiscovered species – but not of human beings. The original bones found did not include a complete skeleton, so it is not possible to know exactly what it was. However, its head and body proportions seem to most closely resemble the Australopithecines, which are a group of extinct apes. The most famous and well studied Australopithecine is a partial skeleton know as “Lucy”. The more this skeleton has been studied the more ape like it is found to be. Creation Research predicts the same will happen with H. floresiensis. (Ref. hominids, human evolution, anthropology)