Nearly a decade ago, researchers on the Indonesian island of Flores announced that they had unearthed an extinct, never-before-seen species of human. Standing about three-and-a-half-feet-tall with a grapefruit-sized skull, the remains were classified as Homo Floresiensis and nicknamed the “hobbit.” Heralded as “the most extreme human ever discovered,” the specimen was believed to be crucial in furthering Darwin’s theory of evolution. However, a new team of experts has “reanalyzed” the data and published a paper (PDF doc) indicating that the the dwarf-like, 18,000-year-old Australo-melanesian is not the missing link after all:
Here we demonstrate that the facial asymmetry, small endocranial volume, brachycephaly, disproportionately short femora, flat feet, and numerous other characteristics of LB1 are highly diagnostic of Down syndrome, one of the most commonly occurring developmental disorders in humans and also documented in related hominoids such as chimpanzees and orangutans.
And now we know.
(Image: Science Daily)