Monday, August 21, 2006

Ebu Gogo No Mo'? Flores Man Just a Short, Diseased Human

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, spoil-sport scientists from Indonesia and the United States pooh-poohed the idea that the tiny skeletons found on the island of Flores were from a new species of hominid, H. floresiensis, perhaps the ebu gogo of local legend. Instead, they argue, the bones are just from a pygmy human with a brain disease:
The international team of paleontologists, anatomists and other researchers who conducted the study was headed by Teuku Jacob of Gadjah Mada University, who is one of Indonesia’s senior paleontologists.

In the report, Dr. Jacob and his colleagues cited 140 features of the skull that they said placed it “within modern human ranges of variation.” They also noted features of two jaws and some teeth that “either show no substantial deviation from modern Homo sapiens or share features (receding chins and rotated premolars) with Rampasasa pygmies now living near Liang Bua Cave,” where the discovery was made.

“We have eliminated the idea of a new species,” Robert B. Eckhardt, a professor of developmental genetics at Penn State who was a team member, said in a telephone interview. “After a time, this will be admitted.”
Link. If there isn't going to be any more ebu gogo, I can't imagine what tomorrow will look like.

Indexed by tags science, nature, cryptozoology, Homo floresiensis, ebu gogo, Flores, human, Teuku Jacob, Robert B. Eckhardt.