- The Loom
Hobbits: Happy, Healthy, Human?
It’s been twenty months now since scientists reported discovering fossils on the Indonesian island of Flores belonging to a three-foot-tall hominid with a brain the size of a chimp that lived recently as 12,000 years ago. Homo floresiensis, as this hominid was dubbed, has inspired two clashing interpretations. Its discoverers declared it a separate species descended from another branch of hominids. In others words, the most recent common ancestor we share with Homo floresiensis lived two or even three million years ago. Skeptics argued that the fossils belonged to human pygmies. The one fossil of a Homo floresiensis brain-case belonged to a female with a rare genetic defect. In brief: healthy hominid versus deformed human.
Now comes a third theory. In