Hobbit researchers go head to head according to articles in EurekAlert and World-science.net 18 May 2006.
The debate continues over the nature of Homo floresiensis, the bones found on the Indonesian island of Flores that some scientists claim are a separate human species and other scientists claim are the same species as modern humans, but were suffering from dwarfism and microcephaly. Robert Martin of the Field Museum, Chicago, and colleagues, have examined the various studies and have written a technical comment in Science 19 May 2006 claiming that the evidence fits the microcephaly theory and claim that the stone tools found in the same cave as the bones “belong to types consistently associated with modern humans, or Homo sapiens.”
They also claim that a skull cast of a microcephalic used in one study was not suitable because it was from a child and was badly made. Martin commented: “There has been too much media hype and too little critical scientific evaluation surrounding this discovery, and it is simply unacceptable that papers should be published without providing proper details of the specimens examined.”
Editorial Comment: There certainly has been more media hype than critical evaluation on this topic. However, if both scientists and popular media read the original studies, which not only described the skull, but also the arms, legs and other bones, they would admit that the bones are an ape-like head with an ape-shaped jaw and ape-sized body with ape-like body proportions. (See Nature, vol. 431, p1055, 28 Oct 2004 and Nature vol. 437, p1012, 13 Oct 2005)
Overall the bones most closely resemble an Australopithecine, a type of extinct ape, whose most famous example is “Lucy”. The stone tools found in the cave are similar to those associated with normal humans, but this is simply evidence that humans have been in this area. This interpretation of the bones and tool does not fit any of the evolutionary views of the bones and as long as evolutionists are determined to fit the evidence into their theory the debate is sure to go on.
Evidence News 31st May 2006
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