Monday, July 17, 2006

Homo hobbitus update The hullabaloo about hobbits
First reported in the journal Nature, the vituperation among paleontologists surrounding the hobbit discovery has been almost as remarkable as the hobbits themselves. For example, a competing archaeologist ran off with LB1, the fossil hobbit described in the Nature report and bones from another, returning them only after making damaging molds of the soft bones. (LB1 is the "holotype" for the new species, sort of the gold standard by which a species is recorded, making the damage more troubling.) Whether the hobbits are offshoots of humanity or just brain-damaged pygmies has become a new scholarly debate in the field of human origins.