New 'Hobbit' disease link claim





Scientists are to present new evidence that the tiny human species dubbed "The Hobbit" may not be what it seems. The researchers say their findings strongly support an idea that the 1m- (3ft-) tall female skeleton from Indonesia is a diseased modern human.

The Hobbit's discoverers are adamant it is an entirely separate human species, which evolved a small size in isolation on its remote island home of Flores.

The bones were unearthed during a dig at Liang Bua, a limestone cave deep in the Flores jungle. The discovery caused a sensation when it was announced to the world in 2004.

Analysis of the 18,000-year-old remains showed the Hobbit had reached adulthood, despite her diminutive size.

Long arms, a sloping chin, and other primitive features suggested affinities to ancient human species such as Homo erectus.

And Homo floresiensis, as science properly calls the creature, seems to exhibit other oddities, such as lower premolar teeth with twin roots. In most modern humans, the lower premolars have a single root.



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