The 'Hobbit' fossil, recently discovered in Indonesia, is from a 3-foot specimen thought to have lived 95,000 to 12,000 years ago. Using imaging
computers and three-dimensional ICT scans, scientists compared the inside of the fossil skull to modern humans and other primates. The findings
suggest that the smaller brain of the 'Hobbit' is different enough from modern human brains to justify placing the 'Hobbit' into a different
category of species.
Scientists working with powerful imaging computers say the spectacular "Hobbit" fossil recently discovered in Indonesia had distinctive brain
features that could justify its classification as a separate — and tiny — human ancestor.
The new report, published Thursday in the online journal Science Express, seems to support the idea of a sophisticated human dwarf species marooned
for eons while modern man proliferated.
The new research produced a computer-generated model that compared surface impressions on the inside of the fossil skull with brain casts of modern
and ancient humans, as well as chimps and other primates.
The scientists said the model shows that the 3-foot specimen, nicknamed Hobbit, had a brain unlike anything they had seen before in the human lineage.
The brain is chimplike in size, about 417 cubic centimeters.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
The brain is chimpanzee-like in size, between 380 and 420 cubic centimeters. The article goes on to say that Homo erectus had a brain size of more
than 1000 cubic centimeters, which is nearly as large as modern Homo sapiens. Robert Martin of the Field Museum in Chicago claims that the
‘Hobbit’ is not simply a scaled-down version of Homo erectus. However, other researchers dismiss the claim that this represents a new species. In
their opinion, the ‘Hobbit’ probably suffered from a form of microcephaly, a condition in which the brain fails to develop at a normal rate of
growth. This condition would result with the specimen having a small head, large face, and possible dwarfism.
Check out the National Geographic link for a nice image.
[edit on 3/3/05 by poonchang]
[edit on 3-3-2005 by Banshee]